Over the next few years, we'll continue to see flocks of baby boomer business owners gear up for retirement. As a result, many long-standing companies now have an altered focus toward minimizing overhead and maximizing short-term profits as part of ownership's exit plans -- an attempt to inflate valuations prior to selling. This trend comes as an opportunity for younger owners and teams eager to supersede their aging competitors.
If you're looking to gain an advantage over competitors consumed by short-term goals, create an organizational plan to invest in these three critical areas: talent, training, and technology.
Routinely recruiting top talent can lay a foundation for long-term success. The individuals you hire will make or break your business's progression towards future achievement. If you recruit and build a team that understands and buys into the vision and goals you've set forth as a leader, they will be among your organization's strongest assets.
Good employees are more likely to work hard, take pride in their work and be invested in your organization's long-term success. With that said, recruiting them is only half the battle; retaining top employees and keeping them motivated and engaged is equally important. Jia Wertz, CEO of Studio 15, a socially responsible fashion brand, shared her thoughts with me about why catering to the needs of your team is as critical as the creation of that team.
"Happy employees have much higher productivity rates, which is why it's so important for employers to find out what their employees' wants and needs are," said Wertz. In regards to their motivations, she explained, "Things such as remote working capabilities, flex schedules, and travel and vacation perks are all important in retaining and keeping your talent happy at work."
Training is for everyone; it is certainly not limited to just entry-level employees. The speed of innovation and technological progression has flipped legacy industries and technologies on their heads, no one can rest on their laurels.
We recently saw a paramount example of this with Toys R Us, a company that outsourced its online sales to Amazon in 1999 instead of creating their own in-house systems and employee training to meet those emerging demands, only to ultimately declare bankruptcy on Sept. 18. In order to lead or remain competitive and relevant in any industry, you constantly have to stay up-to-date and make sure your staff is, too.
Training and teaching employees about new legislation, best practices and technological processes should be a habit, not a choice. When you realize that your employees are ill-prepared for the ever-changing, hyper-competitive landscape, it will already be too late.
For insight into the importance of investing in technology, I reached out to Quantam Solutions CEO Richard Van Staten. According to Van Staten, "Technology upgrades can have a significant impact on the bottom line. There are caveats: the business must vet the technological upgrades, understand how an implementation cycle will take place, accurately calculate Return on Investment (ROI), and carry out the execution properly."
This advice was followed by a warning for businesses that may have fallen behind, "Businesses need to be prepared for tomorrow, not today. Upgrading legacy technological systems is an effective way to do that, as long as it's done thoughtfully and meticulously," said Van Staten. "We are no longer in an age whereby workarounds prove sufficient. The expectation of the consumer market demands that the right technological solutions are in place."
Launching and growing a successful business is no simple task, and maintaining that growth and success over time is the most difficult challenge of all. There is more than enough work involved and a myriad of tools you'll need in your toolbox in order to be successful. These three areas of your organization are essential to your future success, serving as a pragmatic checklist to ensure that your business is maximizing its potential and not falling behind.