6 trends that will change your business | BDC.ca

Future-proof your business by adapting to these six key trends

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Canadian entrepreneurs will be facing a different business landscape in coming years – one shaped by shifting demographics and an unprecedented adoption of digital technologies.

Here are six emerging trends that will transform your company, with expert tips to help you adapt.

Need further information about how to adapt your business to these trends? Here’s more from the BDC report, Future-proof your business: Adapting to technology and demographic trends.

1. The rise of the millennial generation

As baby boomers retire, millennials will become predominant in the workplace.

What your business can do:

  • Position your business on social mediaSocial media is a must for recruiting younger employees and to position your company as a great place to work.
  • Partner with schools—Collaborating with universities and colleges through such initiatives as internships is a great way to find top young talent.
  • Invest in trainingTraining is important for retaining workers and attracting new ones.

2. The aging workforce

As the baby-boom generation retires, the labour pool will grow more slowly and even shrink in some regions.

What your business can do:

  • Create a more flexible workplace—Offering flexible hours, part-time jobs and temporary work are ways to keep older workers on board and attract millennials.
  • Improve benefits and compensation—Consider offering benefits such as a pension plan, health insurance, and compare what you pay to the competition to see if you should increase your compensation.
  • Boost your productivity—To make up for labour shortages, look for ways to become more productive through investments in equipment, technology and operational efficiency.

3. A more culturally diverse population

Immigrants will provide the lion’s share of population growth and will be a key source of workers in a tight labour market.

What your business can do:

  • Reach out to specific communities—Get started recruiting more immigrants by targeting specific immigrant communities through business associations and networks.
  • Adjust your training—Entrepreneurs who hire from culturally diverse groups need to ensure their training is customized to meet those groups’ needs.
  • Take advantage of the strengths of immigrant workers—A diverse workforce can improve your company’s capacity to expand globally.

4. The growth of virtual marketplaces

The Internet and mobile devices are completely changing the way consumers shop.

What your business can do:

  • Build your online presence—Create a digital ecosystem for your business, including a mobile friendly website with e-commerce capability, and social media pages.
  • Learn how to attract customers online—Once your digital ecosystem is set up, launch a few simple campaigns, using tools such as Facebook ads or Google AdWords to learn how to bring in traffic at a price you can afford.
  • Work to improve continuously—Take action, measure the results and make changes to improve. Repeat.

5. The automation of business activities

Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly being used to perform a vast range of activities. But automation is not only about robots—tech systems such as ERP and CRM can boost productivity and reduce costs by automating functions.

What your business can do:

  • Map out your business processes—Process mapping can provide insights into what functions should be automated first. This analysis, in turn, will lead you to the technology solutions that provide the most value for your business.
  • Involve your employees—Employees have intimate knowledge of your business processes and are invaluable resources in selecting and implementing systems. If they’re left out, they may resist using new technology.
  • Shop around—Make a careful assessment of what’s available to find the systems best-suited to your company. Many entrepreneurs are attracted to customized systems, but off-the-shelf products will often do the job at a lower cost and with fewer headaches down the road.

6. The rise of the data economy

Businesses now have the ability to collect and crunch huge amounts of data to uncover important business insights, thanks to the Internet and mobile communications.

What your business can do:

  • Know your customers—Small businesses can understand their customers better and capitalize on sales opportunities by using such tools as online surveys, data analytics programs and social media listening software.
  • Personalize your offerings—Data collected from your website, CRM system and other sources can help you personalize your products and services according to your customers’ needs and tastes.
  • Improve your efficiency with dashboards—By measuring your performance in key areas, you can evaluate how you are doing compared to internal goals or external benchmarks, such as industry averages. Select key performance indicators and use them to create performance dashboards.

Download your copy of BDC’s report Future-proof your business: Adapting to technology and demographic trends.

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