If you are a business owner, you likely have learned quite a bit over the past decade. No matter what your industry, the way we do business has changed drastically. From internet sales to global competition, social media to chatbots, search engine optimization to word of mouth marketing, the learning curve in business has been steep.
But these tools are not what make up a modern business. To be successful a modern business person needs to embrace several trends that are expectations for today's workers. If you want to be the type of business people want to work for and do business with you need to evolve. Here are a few things you should be doing or considering:
5 Indicators of a Modern Business
1. It's No Longer About Hours
Managers have long been obsessed with the amount of hours worked. People are paid by the hour, they accrue vacation time by the hour, and they punch in and out, even if not literally. If you've ever had a boss who is obsessed with you being in a seat at 8 a.m. everyday then you know how corporate America has been driven by the amount of hours you work. In some businesses it's even considered a badge of honor to be able to be the first one in and the last to leave, working 50 to 80 hours a week.
Today's employers and workforce are more interested in the job that needs to be done. They don't care about punching a clock. They have certain goals and tactics to be met. Sure, if you work in retail or you operate a business where people come in to purchase from you, there have to be posted hours and people need to be working there to meet customers’ needs. But assuming your business focuses on meeting customers’ needs outside of face-to-face, the modern business is moving toward a “getting the job done” focus and less on the hours that employees are in their seats.
2. Where You Work Is Less Important
Many businesses are cutting expenses and operating costs by reducing their office space. They do this by allowing their employees the freedom to work off-site or even at home. For a while, work at home was something trendy tech companies were embracing. Then came Yahoo's reactionary stance of bringing all the workers back into the office again.
With concerns over the Coronavirus and an eye on the bottom line, a lot of employers are opening up the possibilities of remote working again.
3. Things Are Virtual
Whether we're talking about conferences or conference calls, we no longer have to pack bags to get business done. Today's savvy businesses are embracing the cost savings in virtual activities over physical ones. People can participate in virtual meetings, conferences, reviews, learning sessions, etc. without having to spend the extra money on travel and time missed at work.
4. Vacations Are a Need
Modern businesses are starting to recognize the dangers of burnout in their employees. They no longer see employee burnout as a problem just for the employee suffering from it. Managers recognize that it also impedes great customer service. When an employee is burned out they don't want to go the extra mile for the customer.
One way to safeguard against burnout is to encourage people to take vacation. But that's not enough. Modern businesses are changing their cultures to place a value on vacation and the experience an employee gains from it.
5. Culture is King, Queen, Duke, and Earl
People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. This can also be said for job hunters too. People want to work for an organization they feel is making a difference somehow. You needn't be a non-profit to still be doing good in the world
You need a business culture that speaks to who you are and what you stand for. This involves more than writing a clever mission statement. It means knowing who you want to be and allowing that ideal to permeate every decision your business makes. In fact, people spending time with your business should be able to guess what is important to you with a little observation. If they can't, your culture is on paper only. Instead, it should be exhibited by every employee and in every customer interaction.
Since culture is the “personality” with which you will court your customers and future employees, you want to make sure it is a big part of your business. If you have a bland culture, or you don't take the time to develop any kind of culture, few will feel passionately about you.
It seems like a lot that you've not only had to learn all of the new tools out there in marketing, communication, and technology but you also have to adapt to the changing face of the workforce and the expectation of employees and customers. If you want to be a 2020 business you need to keep these things in mind. While people love retro charm, they rarely enjoy it in an employer.
Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so.