[This article was written by Smith Willas.]
There’s no way to know what the future will do, but you can anticipate historical trends. A wise man once said that history doesn’t repeat itself, but “it often rhymes”. The truth is, you can anticipate sweeping trends, and through such anticipation avoid being undermined by them. But don’t bank on that anticipation; the unexpected always comes.
Until the forties, no one would have put any stock behind nuclear energy. Then, suddenly, America bombed Japan, and the nuclear age became so penultimate it led to the space age, and now we’re in the information age. Who knows what’s next? Nobody—not really. With this in mind, consider the following five tips as you go about planning initiation of a business in 2019.
1. Maximize Available Resources
Because technology moves so quick (doubling on itself at eighteen month intervals, according to Moore’s Law), there are always new innovations available. Cloud computing today makes it possible to totally outsource your tech infrastructure. You can even design in a \ted as well as sensitive files through cloud monitoring solutions.
An outsourced office might look like this: what costs would have been centered around servers will be outsourced to the cloud. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) will provide interface solutions for those who access your network remotely. BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, can be an operational protocol put in use to decentralize your office and save you money on equipment.
When employees can work from home with their own devices, that makes for comfortable productivity, and is one reason BYOD is more productive than many anticipated. You cut the costs of end-user portals, you cut the cost of parking lots, you cut the cost of rent—you’re able to save tens of thousands of dollars.
Using available technology in 2019 can make your business able to contend with top-tier competitors, having the ability to serve the same clientele at the same quality—provided you specify exactly what you do, and expend energies providing for your clients. You want to optimize all operations in terms of infrastructure, development, and service provision. That’s true generally, and it’s especially true in 2019.
2. Focus on Quantifiable Facts Over Projections
You may hear this in meetings: “If we can continue producing at X rate, we will reach Y profit by Z date.” One “If” in that statement leads to two fictional variables—X and Y. Even though it is known these variables are fictional at the outset, policymakers and managers may find themselves pursuing such outcomes incidentally.
Especially when you’re starting out, this is flawed reasoning. Bear-Stearns was one of the top five investment firms in 2008, before it crumbled. Even the most top-tier businesses in the world can implode suddenly. Nobody knows what the future holds, and planning with resources you don’t have is dangerous.
A better idea is not to make projections, but to err on the side of caution. If you’ve got a small business with projections that will produce $532,234.38 in profit, call it $500k instead, and forget about the extra—it will act as a financial cushion in emergency later.
Such an approach is better than one which projects based on resources that have yet to manifest. There is a place for future projections, but it’s not a place you should rely on.
3. Design Effective Product Prototypes
Always make sure to create your prototypes and parts in advance. In that way you can figure out issues that are invisible until a working model of a product is made. Software has beta-testing, and innovations of an inventive variety need prototypes both to refine the final product, and avoid getting undermined by hidden bugs.
Even if you’ve got an invention that not only works on paper, but which you have refined yourself, mass-producing it will pose certain challenges that can be elusive until you face them. The cost of certain parts may require a redesign, and then that could initiate a safety issue. A domino effect of this variety is relatively common. Avoid being undermined through prototype strategy.
4. Design A Unique Value Proposition Which Positions You Ideally
Being less affluent than big-ticket competitors doesn’t necessarily make you less competitive, it just means you’ll have to hone your provisions. A general mechanic charges more for oil changes than a lube joint, because they make their money in larger repairs; it’s actually more expensive for them to do something like an oil change.
Meanwhile, a lube joint can undercut mechanics because they focus on one specific service. Startups should use this kind of thinking to master one area of profit production before expanding into new areas. While you’re in launch phase, design a unique value proposition which shows clients you can do for them what no other similar business can.
5. Prepare For Turbulence Within The Next Five Years
Half of all businesses won’t survive their first five years of operation. This is especially true for those starting in 2019. There’s another presidential election in 2020, and even should things go ideally economically then and after, you can expect by 2024 that a massive financial downturn will develop.
There seems to be a “seven year cycle” on Wall Street, and it matures in 2023. 2001, 2008, 2015—they’ve all seen some downturns. Is the future predictable? No. However, your 2019 business needs to keep these sorts of things in mind.
A Successful Launch
Do what you can with what you have where you are—maximize resources. Focus on the facts rather than that which could possibly, hypothetically transpire. Put prototypes together beforehand. Have a unique value proposition in hand, and prepare for extreme difficulties in the next five years. You can’t predict the future, but you can fortify your business against known common operational issues.