Is Your Business Ready for the Future?

January 24, 2016

Change is all around us...attitudes, economy, desires, needs, politics, and world security as starters. You name it, and "it" has probably undergone some type of change over the years. If you're a Baby Boomer, you've seen more changes than you could have ever imagined. If you're a GenX, you've still seen a lot of change but certainly not to the extent of the previous generation. If you're a Millennial, you're making many of the changes happen today.

Businesses Must Change

With so many changes currently taking place, businesses must, also, change or risk losing customers, momentum, and their place in today's competitive market environment. What might have once been a stellar business with stellar products or services can easily lose traction if it is not modernizing its business. 

Some changes can be easy and quite inexpensive while others complex and expensive. A change to a business might be as simple as cosmetic changes or more complex and expensive as equipment changes. Perhaps, it is bringing in new technology and skilled employees who have required expertise. 

What To Change

Some businesses, however, as part of their strategic plan for the future start completely overhauling either a part or all of the business. The amount of change is dependent on many factors such as: (1) what must be changed in the business in order to effectively compete in the marketplace, (2) what realistically can be changed in the business based on available resources of capital and human talent, (3) cost of the planned changes, (4) timelines of when changes must be made, (5) location of changes if multiple facilities are involved, (6) current and expected future competition, and (7) simplicity or complexity of planned changes. 

One Company Initiates Change

One company that understands how important change is was founded in 1955. This company was entrepreneurial at the time it was started. It basically revolutionized an industry that has totally changed the global face of that particular industry. It has experienced tremendous growth and to say it has enjoyed much success would be an understatement. 

This business has locations in approximately 118 countries and territories around the world, serves approximately 68 million customers each day, operates over 35,000 restaurants worldwide, and employs more than 1.7 million people. You guessed it...McDonald's!

With all of McDonald's success, locations, and size, one might think that business is "as usual" with no changes in sight. McDonald's basic model might be essentially the same as it was when it first got started; however, business ideas at McD's are not stagnant. With declining sales figures, McDonald's has gone to work trying to figure out how to reverse a downward trend. In October 2015 McDonald's introduced its all-day breakfast menu in meeting the number one request from customers. Although, the concept might sound easy, McDonald's had to figure out how to offer breakfast all day on top of their regular menu with limited kitchen space. 

Another new first for McDonald's is the recently opened "McDonald's Next" in Hong Kong. Forty years after McD's first entered the Hong Kong market, a new McDonald's has emerged...sleek black-and-white logo, ambient lighting, glass and metallic interior, salad bar with 19 ingredients including the super food quinoa, table service after 6 PM, and premium coffee blends. Not to be outdone by other eating establishments, customers can find mobile charging stations, free Wi-Fi, and self-ordering kiosks.  One might ask, "Is this McDonald's?" 

Perhaps, not all McDonald's will be like the one in Hong Kong, but it shows that McDonald's understands it must change with the times and modernize its operations and offering to customers. It must meet the demands of its customers. McDonald's realized its old business model was not working and knew they must develop a major turnaround plan after both revenues and guest traffic fell around the world. Read about the new McDonald's in Hong Kong by clicking here

Understanding The Customer

McDonald's is just one example of how businesses must remain current and competitive. They must understand how customers change and how they must adapt to these changes if they are to remain a viable force in the market. Small, local businesses must adapt to a changing environment and customer demands the same as a global entity must change. 

Is your business operating in today's business climate or yesterday's business climate? Are you keeping current with customer's demands and desires? What was successful in the past (McDonald's is a great example) does not necessarily mean it will continue to be successful in the future. Review your current operations, products and services, marketing efforts, customer service policies...everything about your business. Determine what changes can be made that will have the most impact on revenues and profits with the least amount of money and effort. Plan for the future by making plans today!