If you were to make a list of industries that have experienced the pain and urgency around future proofing, grocery would be near the top. In fact, much of the grocery sector recently experienced the equivalent of more than five years of growth condensed into five months. The pandemic poured gasoline directly on the fire of grocery e-commerce and now consumer shopping preferences have fundamentally changed.
Before the pandemic, there were grocery brands who already had the infrastructure and processes in place for smooth click-and-collect fulfillment, while others continued to embrace the status quo and focus on the in-store shopping experience. The digitally savvy brands were well positioned to roll with the massive shift in consumer preference to order groceries online. The brands who had failed to future proof their fulfillment options scrambled to play catch up, losing frustrated customers to competitors along the way.
No business is immune to disruption.
What is Future Proofing?
When you future proof something you’re designing it to withstand or minimize the impact of unanticipated future events so it can continue to be useful or successful for the long term.
To put it in the context of the health and wellness space, imagine there are two nutritional therapists running similar practices. One has always relied on print ads in newspapers to drum up new business while the other has shifted from print ads to digital advertising and social media marketing. Given that close to 60% of Gen Z says they never read newspapers, the first practitioner is going to age themselves out of an audience. Meanwhile, their competitor is learning how to be successful reaching new audiences natively in the platforms where they spend the most time.
Why Future Proofing Matters
There are many events that can shock and stress small businesses – from a spiky little virus causing widespread chaos to a stressful 2022 economic outlook to generational power shifts in customer experience expectations.
You may not know exactly what’s coming next, but you can safely anticipate that change will occur. By making a plan for future proofing and recession proofing your health and wellness practice now, you keep your business stable, even thriving, through inevitable transformation.
Why Some Businesses Fail To Future Proof
No small business owner would deliberately set out to stagnate, but often they wear so many hats running their practice that thinking beyond the next month (or, let’s face it, even the next week) can feel overwhelming. Here are some other common reasons businesses fail to future proof:
- They get comfortable with the way things have always been done. Experiencing success with a certain way of doing things can make you inclined to keep repeating the formula. Doing this for too long puts you at risk for falling behind competitors who are experimenting with new approaches to old problems.
- They have nobody to bounce ideas off. Trying to implement change in a vacuum can lead to indecision inertia. Talking to your customers about their expectations around your services, and even other practitioners in your space regarding their best practices, can motivate you to try something new.
- They believe they lack the resources to change. Future proofing doesn’t always need to involve a huge financial investment. Sometimes it can be about reducing unnecessary expenses or spending more time ensuring clients are delighted so they buy more products and services from you.
According to McKinsey, high-performing businesses have a mindset that encourages adaptation and reinvention to meet shifting needs. It would seem that carving out time to focus on future proofing isn’t just recommended, it’s imperative to successful growth.
Top 4 Future Proofing Business Ideas
Here are four ideas to ignite your thinking around creating a solid future-proofing plan for your business.
1. Explore Ways to Earn Passive Income
One of the top reasons small businesses fail is due to a lack of working capital. Relying on a single income stream, like 1:1 patient consultations, puts you at risk if that revenue source slows or dries up. This is why diversifying your income makes a lot of sense.
Passive income creates an additional revenue stream that doesn’t require your constant attention or effort. It can be an effective way to bridge your business through slower revenue periods. For example, if a holistic nutritionist created an eBook for working parents who want to feed their growing families healthy, nutrient-dense meals, they could then offer the book up as a gated resource that requires payment to access. They put in the work to create the book once, then promote everywhere to earn passive income while they get on with the business of running their business.
Want more inspiration for building your own passive income streams? Check out these five top passive income ideas for health and wellness practitioners.
2. Build Strong Relationships With Your Clients
It’s easier to convince an existing client to buy more products or services from you than a net-new client who doesn’t already know (and like) you. Recurring clients aren’t just more amenable to your offers, they’re more profitable because they represent recurring revenue for your business.
Getting clients to rebook with your practice requires putting in the time to ensure they’re achieving their goals and getting value from the journey. Check out this article for more ideas for getting clients to rebook.
3. Review Your Small Business Tools
Small businesses use an average of three to five apps to jumpstart their business, but paying for each of those tools separately can really start to add up. Some platforms are critical for expanding your services – like software that lets you seamlessly conduct virtual 1:1 appointments. But if you’re looking to reduce your operating expenditures, it’s wise to take a second look at the small business tools you rely on to see if you can streamline many into fewer.
For example, you may be paying for MailChimp to send out emails and Calendly to let clients self-book appointments. With a health and wellness software solution like Practice Better you can consolidate those two functions into one platform – and one monthly subscription payment.
Common Software Subscriptions That Are Covered by Your Practice Better Account
Practice Better lets you automate scheduling, bookings and invoices all from one platform. And it even integrates seamlessly with popular services, including Stripe®, Square®, Zapier®, Fullscript™, Google® and Dropbox™.
- Scheduling – Customize your availability and let clients book their own appointments from your website, Bookings Page, or directly from the Client Portal. Plus, send automated reminders and alerts via email, SMS, or Instant Alerts.
Set your maximum preferred gap:
- Billing – Create invoices, process payments, and set up recurring payments for your packages and services. Billing information is always stored securely and in compliance with PCI.
- Email and messaging – Securely send clients email, direct chat messages, or broadcast messages, all from one platform.
- Calendar – Manage scheduling for multiple team members through a unified calendar.
- Forms and waivers – Create important digital paperwork right in the system and give clients freedom to complete, sign, and submit right from the Client Portal.
- Client accountability – Put all essential information in one place and give clients easy access from the web or mobile app. Make it easy for them to journal and track key activities in the platform.
Test drive the convenience of bundling multiple productivity tools in one powerful platform with your free 14-day trial of Practice Better.
4. Reduce Business Expenses
Renting physical space for your practice can carve a big chunk out of your monthly profits. The pandemic fueled high tenant losses through commercial real estate as companies shifted to hybrid and virtual work models, which means there could be an opportunity to renegotiate your rental fees. Check out this article on 2022 office leasing trends for more information.
Perhaps you even have the opportunity to eliminate rental and related costs entirely. Are your clients asking for more virtual appointments or do they still want to see you in person? Is there an opportunity to reduce your number of live interactions and split office space with another business to reduce expenses? Can you use software to help clients help themselves and reduce or eliminate the need to pay admin staff?
Regardless of where you look to reduce business expenses, be sure you’re not cutting back on the investment in the practice management tools that help to fuel your growth. If you need help making a business budget template to reduce expenses, an experienced financial advisor can help.
Recession Proofing Your Practice
With economic instability on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to focus on getting your business ready to weather uncertainty. Future proofing your practice won’t necessarily cost you a lot of money, but you will need to commit time and brain space to do it right. Rather than viewing this exercise as taking time away from your other priorities, think of it as a sound investment in protecting your growth – and your peace of mind.
Practice Better is the complete practice management platform for nutritionists, dietitians, and wellness professionals. Streamline your practice and begin your 14-day free trial today.
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