We hear a lot about the changing business environment.

Thanks to technology, business realities change on an almost daily basis. If you want to stay on top of the situation and ride the wave of the future, it’s time for you to embrace what’s coming.

There’s a ton of opportunity in today’s world, but you have to be ready to seize those chances. Not only that, but you also need to leave tired old ideas and ways of doing business behind. Here are seven business realities you need to embrace if you want to avoid becoming irrelevant in the next few years:

1. You Can’t Rely on “Factory Jobs” Coming Back

We’ve heard a lot in recent months about bringing jobs back to the USA. While it’s a nice thought, a lot of the rhetoric focuses on “factory jobs.” One of the harshest business realities you need to face is that those jobs aren’t coming back — at least not as we know them.

The MIT Technology Review points out that advanced manufacturing is the wave of the future. That means that, even if some companies build factories in the United States again, they won’t employ the types of low-skill workers that we associate with factories. Instead, we’re talking about robots doing most of the work.

People are only needed to oversee the robots and take on programming roles. In fact, Wired thinks that programming in these factories will be the next blue collar jobs.

For businesses, this can be a good thing. It means you can get access to goods at lower prices. It costs much less to run a robot than pay a human. But if you’re a business owner or politician trying to gain bonus points by railing about the loss of factory jobs and your commitment to bringing them back, this is a reality you need to face quickly.

Instead, you want to look for workers who can be trained in new skills that fit better with the high technology we see today.

2. The Fintech Revolution is Here to Stay

It’s not just a fad. The fintech revolution is here to stay and your business needs to be ready.

The good news is that you can take advantage of the fintech revolution to help your business. The business realities that come with fintech are a huge boon to companies, especially startups.

You can use the latest fintech applications to streamline your payment efforts, whether you are paying vendors or accepting payments from customers. There’s a lot that’s cheaper as a result of fintech, and you can reach more customers and forge new partnerships.

Thanks to fintech, you can do more with a lot less. Embrace fintech and upgrade your systems so you can take advantage of all fintech has to offer.

3. Regulation is Going to be Spotty for a Few Years

One of the business realities everyone faces is regulation. There is always some red tape. But things are going to be spotty for a few years.

Some of the recent regulations that have been put into place are being rolled back. For now, that can mean amazing opportunities for you to forge ahead with your business. In the next two years, you are likely to see less red tape.

However, the nature of American government is that a new administration and a new group of people in charge can mean changes to regulation. In another two to four years, you might see regulation enacted again. You need to be ready for these regulatory changes. Otherwise, you’ll be caught off guard, unable to adapt.

Luckily, technology can help with the advancements in regtech. The idea here is to pay for solutions that allow you to stay on top of compliance as rules and regulations change. Embrace the fact that regulation will keep changing, and get the tools you need to manage those changes without going crazy.

4. You Need to be in the Cloud

Business needs to be more flexible than ever, and you need to be as well. With teams and partners all over the world, and with your own schedule, it makes sense to use the cloud. If your business isn’t in the cloud, it needs to be.

Not only can the cloud allow you access to everything you need, when you need it, but it can also save you on costs. You can do a lot more with less overhead, thanks to the cloud. If you aren’t making use of the best cloud business applications available, you will quickly fall behind.

Success in business going forward will be more about flexibility, speed, and adaptability. The cloud offers all those things without tying you to outdated equipment and systems. Embrace the cloud and your business will stand a better chance of success.

5. Employees Expect More Flexibility in Work and Life

A lot has gone into trying to figure out what millennials want from a workplace and from life. And, while you can’t try to say everyone is the same, there are some general trends that define what the younger generation expects, according to polling powerhouse Gallup. Understanding these desires is one of the business realities you need to face if you plan to tap into the talent resources available to you.

Millennials expect more flexibility in work and life. They want to feel as though they are doing meaningful work, and they want to be able to enjoy work-life balance. If your business has the ability to manage remote workers, and offer flexible hours, you have a better chance of attracting millennials.

It’s not about clocking in and getting paid hourly for mundane work. Workers today want to feel that their careers mesh with their life values. They also want to be paid based on accomplishment, not the clock. One of the reasons I love working for Student Loan Hero is the fact I can still set my own hours, there is no office, and I am paid a salary based on what I get done, rather than an hourly rate that requires me to clock in and out.

If you want to attract talent, you need to offer stimulating and meaningful work and allow your workers a lifestyle that leads to desired work-life balance. You might be surprised to discover that, rather than resulting in problems with your work, you will actually promote more productivity and higher quality work.

6. Blockchain is Coming

While blockchain is still somewhat in stealth mode, it’s coming. It’s one of the business realities you need to prepare for.

First of all, cryptocurrencies that use blockchain are growing in popularity. And it’s not just about Bitcoin, although that is the most well-known of the cryptocurrencies. Blockchain financial transactions allow you the chance to do business anywhere in the world without worrying about currency exchange or high transaction fees. For international businesses, this could be the wave of the future.

You can use cryptocurrencies to accept payment from more customers and build better partnerships — and do it for less.

But blockchain isn’t just for cryptocurrencies. You can also use blockchain for other business functions. Blockchain can be used for contracts, intellectual property protection, and other items. You might be surprised at how you can secure your business operations with the help of blockchain. In a world where security is an increasing concern, you can reduce your vulnerabilities in some areas with the help of blockchain.

Embrace blockchain functions in finance and other business areas, and you will be ahead of the curve.

7. You are a Brand as Much as Your Business

When building your business brand, you want to make sure that you present the best face forward. But that doesn’t just apply to your business and your products.

You need to accept that you can be a brand just as much as your business.

If you want to grow your business in today’s world, it helps to be seen as a thought leader and as the genuine personality behind the brand.

It’s a tricky line to walk. You want your business brand to be seen as separate and be able to succeed without you. However, you can also help your business by being your own brand. Finding that balance is one of the important business realities you face today.

Make it a point to position yourself and build your personal brand, even if it’s separate from what you’re doing with the business itself.

That will help you down the road, and can even help your business.

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