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How businesses can better prepare for becoming ‘fit for the future’

11 February, 2022

Looking to help your business thrive in the future? In 2019, Vodafone started research to discover which businesses were best prepared to thrive in the future. Now, they have taken this work further to understand how these organisations, which they consider to be ‘fit for the future’ (or FFTF), have adapted.

In order to provide their insights, Vodafone surveyed businesses with market researchers B2B International, and this data was then analysed by the London School of Economics (LSE). Their aim was to examine the relationship between being ‘fit for the future’ and business performance, and this was to be reviewed in both a corporate and social context. The findings were staggering, and while the full report can be reviewed here, Vodafone have provided us with some of their key insights. 

Digital investment is key

Digital transformation is nothing new, and businesses around the world are embracing this change. However, Vodafone’s research showed that there was a difference between how small businesses and large enterprises did this. While the size of the business did not impact its ability to be ‘fit for the future’, investing in technology alone simply wasn’t enough. Instead, it is all about mindset, and essentially being open to change, that makes a business ready to thrive. 

Organisations considered ‘fit for the future’ embraced the new; be it new technology, new ideas, or new challenges, and tackled these head on. Being open to change and adjusting your business’ mindset had a direct impact on performance, and so was key to outperforming competitors financially.  

Listen to your customers and react

Customer expectations are higher than ever, but they are constantly evolving, and it’s not just your business’ service that is important to them now. Customers are increasingly concerned with social issues and sustainability, and now expect the companies they deal with to be invested in such issues too. 

With business success being the priority for many companies to ensure that they survived, it is understandable to see why sustainability wasn’t always at the forefront of a company’s agenda. However, many ‘fit for the future’ businesses identified that being sustainable is ‘absolutely necessary’ for them to operate. As the world of commerce evolves, so too do customers’ expectations, and being mindful of this and how this can be implemented into your busines, is an essential step to becoming ‘fit for the future’. 

Accept and embrace hybrid working and its changes

The way business works has fundamentally changed due to the pandemic. With work patterns changing significantly, the need for flexibility remains key. During the pandemic, remote working became the norm, and FFTF firms, with their adaptable attitudes, saw a faster adoption of the technologies needed to facilitate this newer way of working.  

Employee’s expectations have also changed, with individuals eager for greater flexibility in their roles. Having embraced these changes at a faster pace early on, FFTF firms are well placed to meet these expectations, with many optimistic about technology and how this can improve existing roles and new opportunities. 

Be positive about smart technology

Technology is all around us in our digital world. Everyday technology such as social media, automation, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence also play a part in the business world. With so much technology comes new opportunities and challenges, but again it was FFTF business that remained better prepared to tackle these directly. 

Rather than viewing automation as a replacement for staff, 40% of ‘fit for the future’ firms are using this more readily available technology for better productivity, such as minimising mundane tasks. Such technology is also aiding these businesses in boosting inclusion, by bettering employee careers and keeping staff engaged.
Overall, Vodafone learnt that FFTF businesses believed technology to be a growing strategic asset; they adapted to the digital world and used technology to create new opportunities.
Becoming ‘fit for the future’

Regardless of recent challenges faced by businesses, the ones considered ‘fit for the future’ all had one key thing in common – the ability to quickly adapt to change. This saw them being well prepared to be open and adaptable to emerging trends, changes, challenges, and opportunities. 

Read Vodafone Business UK’s full “Fit for the Future” report here to gain more insights.