From the pandemic to economic ups and downs, the past few years have taught us that nothing is certain. Businesses large and small have learned that unforeseen circumstances lurk around every corner, so to survive long-term, they must be prepared for anything.
Of course, setting up your business for an uncertain future isn’t always intuitive or easy. Especially when running a business in the early stages, most founders tend to focus on short-term results. Still, one should expect difficulties and changes to come, so it’s important to keep an eye on the future.
So what steps can you take today to prepare and protect your business tomorrow? Let’s take a look at some strategies from women entrepreneurs who have taken the necessary steps to make their businesses fit for the long term.
Diversify your revenue streams
Thinking through different ways to generate revenue can be game-changing when it comes to preparing your business for healthy longevity.
“Multiple income streams are great for generating additional income. They can also bail you out if something goes wrong and you are unable to offer a service or product or two,” says Ashley K. Stoyanov Ojeda, a business development strategist who has worked with companies like Bonita Fierce Candles to become the first Latina -own brand of candles on the shelves of Nordstrom.
She recommends asking yourself, “What else might my client be interested in that’s not far from what I already offer?”
Sheela Gonsalves, owner of Prism Brand Advisory, agrees that managing different types of revenue streams is almost a necessity for scaling a business. “Once you diversify your offerings, you also need the right systems, processes and data to manage them. Hand-in-hand with diversified revenue comes a company’s ability to be organized and thoughtful.”
When you’re ready to diversify your revenue streams, Gonsalves recommends finding out where the revenue is today and asking yourself these key questions:
What is the frequency or consistency of sales?
How involved are you in the process and can you pass it on to your team?
What percentage of your business does it make up?
Allows you to stay in touch with the needs of your customers?
“This exercise will validate your revenue streams and help adjust strategies for the future and long-term,” advises Gonsalves.
Adopt a forward-thinking approach
Entrepreneurship often means rolling with the punches. Still, it’s important to keep an eye on the future.
“Ask yourself, ‘How can my business fit into a future economy?’ There are always opportunities to modernize and future-proof our businesses,” said Jessie Medina, Founder of FEMX Quarters. “For example, if you have a retail business, can you run it online? If you have a parking garage, can you leverage the user experience with technology?”
As you consider the possibilities, try to keep an open mind about the potential for a realignment of your business. As Alana Podrx, Founder and CEO of Eve Wealth puts it, “Instead of thinking about what you need, listen to the needs of your clients. What does “service” look like to you? It can feel difficult to let go of what’s in your hands. But if it’s not what’s needed, then it’s a sunk cost. There could be a greater and brighter path for you and the people you choose to serve.”
Stay committed to your mission
Even in the best of times, entrepreneurship is still tough work. And when times are tough, it can be tempting to throw in the towel.
“If you start your business with passion, you can endure a difficult journey. If you solve a problem and have a unique, defensible approach, your business will last,” says Anja Skodda, Founder and CEO of HappyBond. “Study your market and target audience and create a sticky product that will be needed all the time. When there is demand, there is competition – you just have to find a better solution that can be defended.”
Future-proofing a business requires a complex balance of strategic planning while remaining flexible in the moment. With a few targeted strategies in your toolbox, you have the ability to set yourself and your business up for long-term success, even in the most difficult of times.