Business is susceptible to ups and downs. Regardless of the cycle of development your company is focused on, you are almost guaranteed to face both expansion and crisis.
But what can really threaten your business in the future? Take the American philosopher & writer George Santayana’s quote — “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Every businessperson is familiar with most upcoming problems. They include, among others, yearly funding gaps which are at the top of the list of reasons why small businesses are getting shut down; and excessively centralized management problems, when a concentrated group of leaders holds the authority of making the most part of important decisions. The inability of fast reaction, the gap between tops and contractors in place, the absence of creativity and ill-preparedness for a change of the organization’s structure are the things that will never provoke the increase of chances for success in the future.
Every business wants and even thrives for a long-term stability. But the dynamics of many of the market factors raise concerns. Take, for example, the ever-growing prices of acquisition (and preservation) of clients online. This problem includes three aspects:
Continuous growth of marketing expenditures. The company must be present in the same market and use the same channels its customers do. Brands want to grow more & more while target audience actively employs social networks. Costs of advertising on Facebook, Google, and other ad-ready networks increase constantly. The customers’ attention must be paid for.
Devaluation of attention & information overload. In order to keep a customer, more and more means of stimuli must be employed. Loyalty programs and other means of customers’ retention can, eventually, lead to the brand’s reduced income. We are living in the environment of informational overload, and because of immediate access to a colossal amount of data users face a problem of authenticity. A number of active users’ info sources and channels amounts to several hundred, which makes an ability to provide the proper information a real challenge for the brand.
Reduction of total clean profit from one customer & loss of loyalty. More often than not, the customers drawn by the company in the past, on average, spend less than the new customers. As a result, a dilemma appears which inclines the new companies towards aggressive expansion implying accumulation of customer-base. The behavioral shift among the customers appears at that — they will switch to another brand without any hesitation if they get the more pleasant offer increasing the market competitiveness.
Speaking about the future, one must not ignore the risks appearing on the stage of digitalization of business. Unfortunately, regardless of the size, niche, or location, the business is always threatened by fraud. Only one unreliable or overly trustful employee is enough to conduct some or other kind of criminal activity within your company. According to ISACA report data, 40% of all USA cyberattacks take place in the business sector.
Approximately $655 billion is to be invested by the business into various cybersecurity initiatives in the 2015–2020 period, according to Business Insider Intelligence research. Does that mean that the crisis can be prevented? Hardly. Cybersecurity experts give an open warning: the cost of implementation of all the technologies required for reliable protection of your business can as well be equal in sum to lost revenues caused by the data loss (especially if you do everything the proper way).
Even if you are mentally prepared for the upcoming market’s external challenges, the problems of growth and complication of your business management are still in place. Importance of the proper human capital management increases proportionally to the staff’s size. Ignoring the respective questions, you risk facing the loss of performance and morale of your staff. The questions of valuable employees’ retention, conflict resolution, increase of administrative tasks’ and qualification’s efficiency all require constant attention and significant investments. English Federation for Small-sized Enterprises report confirms — absence of managerial abilities stalls the business growth and affects the overall performance as though it was car brakes.
So, what a sustainable business of the future must be like? First and foremost — there is no single resolution to that. Thinking that there is a “magic pill” that makes your business overcome any catastrophe upon ingestion is just a naïve thing to do. But even if at least one of the above-mentioned predictions comes true — without the cardinal and even, possibly, revolutionary changes, your business is to gain fame similar to “Titanic’s” where the future means an underwater part of the iceberg. There are, in fact, numerous ways of avoiding the iceberg impact.
One must, for one, work on trust enhancement, reputation support, automation of business processes, robustness against various crises, flexibility, staff expenditures reduction; be ready to cooperation with freelancers and contractors, be available 24/7, track the cost-effectiveness and provide employees with extensive rights and capabilities of decision-making — all simultaneously! At the first sight, it seems that only a Superman can handle such challenge. The right answer lies in the technologies.
Currently available stack of technologies of the future can be nominally subdivided into three large groups — smart chatbots for business, AI technologies, and blockchain solutions. The biggest corporations work on the development of their own versions of personal voice assistants. Siri, Google Assistant, Viv, Bixby, and Cortana all operate on users’ smartphones; Google Home, Alexa, Apple Homepod — in smart houses. Voice interfaces guide themselves towards the part of the general way of interaction between the users in autonomous cars.
Chatbots that operate in various immediate message exchange systems is a growing tendency, which doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down in the nearest future. A Facebook IQ research presents the following data: 67% of pollees expect to communicate with vendors and service providers via chat more often in the future. The clients and the business on the Facebook Messenger platform reportedly exchange over a billion messages a month.
Client consultation, prompt response towards requests, geolocation-based recommendations, the economy of human resources — all these tasks are within the powers of the chatbots that are ready for use in various spheres: from user support to different kinds of marketing activities. The chatbots are ready to complete tasks 24/7 and are able to enrich your business with the flexibility regardless of the platform your clients use — they work equally fine via web and mobile platforms as well as on social networks.
In the last couple of years, machine learning of various AIs for business has become much more efficient and widely accessible. As a matter of fact, you can create systems that learn how to complete business-tasks on their own. The examples are plenty: AIs help in detection of fraud cases, work in the fields of predictive analytics and diagnosis of diseases and with numerous less spread technical tasks related to data processing and interpretation.
It isn’t hard to imagine how strongly and deeply will the AI affect the existing business: production, retail, transportation, finances, healthcare, law, advertisement, insurance, entertainment, education and practically any other niche will be able to transform its general processes and business models in order to employ advantages of the AI.
Despite the fact that the AI is already being employed by thousands of enterprises all over the world, its capabilities haven’t been applied to their fullest extent yet. Management, implementation, and even business-imagination all have respective sticking-points now. And, even though we are not trying to grasp the far future in our prognoses, when the superintelligence takes place of the AI — the modern work distribution between humans and machines status quo is to be significantly undermined.
The companies betting on the machine learning are to acquire a competitive advantage: the sooner they employ its benefits, the more time will they have to comprehend the maximally effective way of integration with one’s own tasks.
So, why does the existing AI together with the machine learning not develop alongside each other commonly? That is related to the delayed development of the infrastructure that is, currently, significantly superior to the innovations in methods of the machine learning. Another stumbling point here is proper processing and comprehension of a natural language. Before solving the customer’s problem, the voice chatbot or a smart assistant must understand it completely and perfectly. Most of the data available to both bots and humans remain unstructured. This issue is to be handled by the systems of the future featuring advanced cognitive functions.
You can teach your “business-ship” how to dexterously avoid any kind of iceberg with the described above tools. But even that is not enough, the ship must also be filled with passengers. How to resolve the issue of trust and financial borrowing in a single move? Blockchain!
Most ready-to-use services based on blockchain are limited only by the insufficient confidence from the business’s side of things. ICO process is very useful for investments and financial borrowing. Smart-contacts were created to reduce the expenditures and automate business-processes simultaneously.
The blockchain provides an opportunity to create decentralized and transparent at the same time trust systems. Note that such systems are in demand practically everywhere: in banking, cybersecurity, educational projects, polling & decision-making systems, loyalty programs for car & other kinds of manufacture, Internet of Things system, prognosis, copyright protection & licensing, marketplace trading, real estate, insurance, charity, healthcare and many other examples. The hesitant moments in any kinds of deals can be eradicated using the blockchain. It is, essentially, a new form of transparency for business that provides amazing flexibility and scalability.
Must you wait until one of your competitors apply some of the incredible new technologies? In case you always dreamed of creating your own Titanic (and sending it to the bottom of Atlantic) — yes. If you are ready to prepare your business for the future — no.
The revolution is impossible without the driving force. BRN — Business Revolution Network is on the cusp of the three fields and technologies: chatbots, AI, and blockchain. We allow our partners to launch their new business-applications on the relevant channels in the shortest terms. For instance, mobile apps for the leading platforms (iOS+Android) and immediate message exchange platforms (Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Skype, Telegram, Twitter, Viber, Line, Kik, Slack). We monitor the AI market achievements and make use of only the best services available: IBM Watson, Microsoft Cognitive Services, Amazon AI and many others.
If so required, the BRN will also employ the capabilities of blockchain platforms, Ethereum, EOS, Bitshares, and Steemit. We have experts in all the enumerated fields, who are ready to start the Business Revolution in Your company now. We will not let you disappear.