This year has been rife with uncertainty: from the unexpected general election to ongoing Brexit negotiations and different proposals (as well as U-turns) on changes to National Insurance charge. It is no wonder that there has been speculation that the Bank of England will raise interest rates next month. We’re potentially entering a time in which many financial directors start to lose their nerve. Are we on the cusp of a second big crash? Should we all start planning to batten down the hatches and tighten our belts?
The answer for some businesses may be yes, but for many more, 2018 will be the year where investment in your business becomes crucial for your future prospects. You have to know where and in what to invest.
Invest in Innovation: Start by Identifying Your Business Bucket List
Investing in development usually means investing in innovation. If you start doing it before the rest of the herd, you’ll stand a better chance of getting ahead. Generally speaking, there are three types of innovation you should be considering: product innovation, creative innovation and business-model innovation.
Take the time to work out where you want to innovate across all three sectors and put these down as actions for your bucket list.
Be More Efficient: Invest in Processes
Start by researching the technology you need to improve. This is a no-brainer. If you have technology lined up that would streamline a process in your business, no matter whether you are a producer of physical products or the proprietor of ideas, your costs will go down and production will go up if you invest smartly. In a back office and admin sense, there are already lots of tech products on the market designed to make you more efficient. However, not all processes may be visible or identifiable yet. Call on your in-house staff to identify areas for investment and to identify the solutions to match.
Last year we wrote about how automation can help with improving processes.
Get All Employees Tech Ready: Invest in Training
You’d be surprised how many employees avoid using technology in the workplace – even simple things like Excel and PowerPoint – but once you’ve managed to avoid learning one new trend, the following advancements can become impossible to learn. Make tech fluency the norm and invest in training across the board. Make ‘people development’ rather than ‘new hire’ the buzzword in your business.
Attract Top Talent: Invest in Grad Schemes
It’s now time to admit that tech know-how is the most valuable skill across almost every business. However, elite tech grads in particular are being hoovered up into tech start-ups and giants alike, leaving everyone else behind. If you have the means to recruit and train tech grads in your own business, do it. Investing in people within tech will put your business in a new league.
Trust and Empower Your Staff: Invest in Flexible Working
Promoting remote working might sound scary to many employers. What they fear in particular is the idea that their remote workers are not actually working. However the trend is increasing in the UK (along with other countries such as USA and Japan) and is only set to continue in the coming years with 34 % of attendees at London Business School’s Global Leadership Summit saying that more than half of their full-time workforce would be working remotely by 2020.If you’ve invested in the right kind of tech and if your employees’ roles are clearly defined, remote working results in a win-win situation for everyone involved. What’s more, you don’t need to constrain remote working to those within your company. Hire freelancers for part-time work, such as admin support and marketing tasks, and see your overheads drop.
So take the initiative and invest while others are scrambling to cut costs. Just remember to be clear on where your money is going and why.
The key word here is tech, but how you combine that with people is the key ingredient for success.
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