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Managing challenges as a Future Ready Business

Discover how Future Ready Businesses are building resilience in times of disruption


2020 has seen businesses of all shapes and sizes face some form of disruption.

Perhaps your whole team had to adapt to working remotely overnight, or maybe you had to close your doors altogether during periods of lockdown?

Being ready to adapt and think on your feet is a natural part of running your own business. But there are some other things that could help too, like the steps that have been taken by Future Ready Businesses (FRBs), as found in the Vodafone Business Future Ready Report 2020 [PDF: 18.6MB]

What is a Future Ready Business?

Future Ready Businesses are the companies that are most confident and well-prepared for emerging trends, challenges and possibilities.

They have six key characteristics:

Characteristics of a Future Ready Business

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  • Positive attitude to change
  • Open to new technology
  • Clear steps towards business transformation
  • Detailed strategy
  • Up-to-date with trends and uncertainties
  • Adaptable

Being Future Ready has nothing to do with your size. It’s about mindset.

Already, nearly a fifth of small and medium businesses (17%) are FRBs. Here’s what makes them stand out.

Three tips for becoming Future Ready

Have a plan

Reacting quickly to change is a hallmark of a Future Ready Business.

Future Ready SMEs are more likely to have a fully documented business continuity plan in place (85%) compared with other small- and medium-sized businesses (60%)

In fact, 26% of businesses outside the Future Ready category didn’t have any disaster recovery plan, with many believing it wasn’t needed.

And although no one could’ve predicted the pandemic, those plans have turned out to be crucial, with 83% of Future Ready SMEs with business continuity plans saying they worked well during the pandemic, and that they’ve seen fewer negative impacts as a result.

29% of these businesses actually reported an increase in their profits compared to the same period in previous years.

Being more financially stable, Future Ready SMEs are able to focus on other priorities, such as employee health and wellbeing, and even begin to tackle long-term objectives too.

Almost half of these Future Ready SMEs have been able to dedicate time to supporting their communities (42%) – maintaining the strong relationships they’ll need in the months ahead.

Become digital-first

With social distancing in place, smaller businesses across the board have been turning to technology to combat COVID-19.

69% of SMEs have made at least one technology investment in direct response to the pandemic – and over a third (36%) have accelerated their digitalisation.

Technology is viewed by many organisations as a way to build their resilience.

In fact, a third of the SMEs that aren’t in the Future Ready category say they are investing in technology because the crisis has revealed weaknesses in their business model.

Importantly, FRBs are also more likely to be adopting flexible technologies, such as cloud and online storage (30%).

This will help these companies to adjust how they use technology according to future needs, such as flexible working patterns or scaling the business.

Proactively embrace change

FRBs are approaching the current changes with a different attitude to their peers.

These SMEs are more likely to continue with practices they’ve adopted during the pandemic, such as operating with less bureaucracy (33% compared to 22% of non-Future Ready businesses).

Many are embracing change. 30% strongly agree that crises like COVID-19 are the best possible time to be experimenting with new ways of working – compared to just 8% of the SMEs outside the Future Ready category.

Looking to the future

It is a mindset that appears to have made a big difference to the resilience – and the success – of businesses during the pandemic.

With circumstances having changed dramatically and continuing to do so, adaptability remains a vital trait for small business success.

Whether you're already a Future Ready Business or on the path towards becoming one, there’s never been a better time to take a step back, build on your strengths and experiment to not only survive, but thrive.

Read the Vodafone Business Future Ready Report 2020 [PDF: 18.6MB] to learn more

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