We’re living in interesting times. Whether you’re a fan of politics, business, or even pop culture, massive changes are afoot that will reshape the way we live our lives. The good news (or bad news depending on your viewpoint!) is that those changes have already begun, meaning there’s no time like the present to turn your business into a lean, mean, future-proof machine.
The Business Development Bank of Canada published a study recently highlighting the six trends that are set to reshape your business in the coming years. These are:
- Canada’s ageing population
- The rise of millennials
- Cultural diversity
- The impact of ecommerce
- Business Automation
- Big Data and the data economy
While all these trends might not specifically impact you yet, they are ultimately impossible to ignore. Taking the steps needed to address each will leave your business in great shape to weather any upcoming challenges. Below, we’ve taken a look at each of these trends, and how to position your business as a leader, and not a follower.
Canada’s Older Workforce
According to StatsCanada, individuals aged 55 and over accounted for 36 per cent of the working-age population in 2016. By 2026, that proportion could reach over 40 per cent. This older and more experienced class of employee is working longer into traditional retirement years. But, while they’re sticking around longer, a looming demographic crunch is about to hit Canadian businesses as these individuals retire at the same time. In fact, many companies are already facing shortages of the talented people they need to remain competitive. Pro-active companies are filling these gaps by making themselves a more attractive place to work. Consider positioning yourself as an accessible employer, leveraging the skills of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians that have a disability. Use your older staff in mentorship roles, allowing them to impart their years of working wisdom to the younger generation. Speaking of the younger generation…
Millennials’ Time to Shine
Despite what you may have read, Millennials aren’t lazy. They’re now the single biggest generation in the Canadian workforce (see above figure). With this shift, comes a shifting of the responsibilities facing business owners. This is a generation that will work hard, but don’t subscribe to the same norms as generations that came before. Take the traditional 9-5 office. Millennials raised within the “gig economy” don’t understand why they need to be chained to a desk when they can do their job just as effectively remotely, and at hours that suit them. Appealing to this oft-misunderstood generation isn’t rocket science, it just requires a degree of flexibility. Consider moving to a more flexible work schedule that works around the needs of your staff. If a member of staff requests to work remotely, try your best to accommodate within the confines of your business. Elsewhere, make a budget available for training and encourage your staff to use it.
A Cultural Melting Pot
It’s often said Canada is a nation of immigrants. And, with birth rates falling, over 80% of Canada’s population growth will be fuelled by immigrants by 2032. This diverse pool of talent is often highly skilled and tapping into it can often fill a need companies would otherwise struggle to fill. Hiring staff reflective of our diverse community naturally invites a broader client base. As these new clients become regulars, they’ll spread the word about your business through word of mouth. These immigrants also bring insights into how business is conducted around the globe, helping give Canadian businesses a critical advantage when it comes to exporting and manufacturing.
Ecommerce Continues to Grow
As more and more Canadians shop online, it’s creating new challenges and fresh opportunities for Canadian businesses. Over 80% of us shop online. According to Canada Post, one in four online shoppers say they spent more online than in-store last year. That figure is only going to rise. Becoming more ecommerce savvy doesn’t require a degree in rocket science. It might even be the easiest trend to account for. Start by ensuring you offer a robust online store if you’re selling physical goods. Use social media to engage in conversation with your community, and look at ways to attract a new audience, including content marketing, targeted advertising and search engine optimization. Use available metrics like Google Analytics to measure the success of your efforts.
Business automation isn’t a boogie man coming to take away our jobs. Instead, it’s helping us find efficiencies that are making companies leaner and more productive than ever before. To begin leveraging these efficiencies, analyse how you do business. Find manual processes you engage in and look at apps or software that can automate them. Still manually doing payroll and paying invoices? There are apps to help with that. Do you have a CRM system in place to handle customer information? If not, investing in one is an amazing way to automate your business processes.
The Rise of Data
The rise of “big data” has been one of the massive news stories around the world in recent years. Google, Facebook and Twitter have all faced questions about the data they collect and how it’s used. Alongside this, has been the growing adoption of data by businesses of all types. Customers now expect a tailored shopping experience, with ads and “suggested purchases” all individually mapped to what is being browsed. Analytics on item pairing customers purchase together can be easily gathered through most ecommerce platform. Pairing a fully featured online store with smart analytics is one of the proven ways to increase customer retention.
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Looking for ways to modernize your business? Covering everything from marketing, to automation and online sales, GD Commerce is ready to help.