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Agility Matters: Five Mindset Shifts Entrepreneurs Must Make To Succeed With 2020 also signifying the start of a new decade, one in which digitization is set to transform the business world, there's even more reason to address the strategies designed to drive us forward.

By Bani Haddad

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Every new year gives us opportunity to reflect on our successes, learn from past mistakes, and prepare afresh for the 12 months ahead. It's a time to revisit business plans, track our growth, and set goals for the coming year. With 2020 also signifying the start of a new decade, one in which digitization is set to transform the business world, there's even more reason to address the strategies designed to drive us forward. Are we sure of our convictions, or is there room for a change in attitude? How will our entrepreneurial passions and professional outlook blend to ensure future success? Here are five mindset shifts we believe could have significant bearing on the growth of your business in 2020.

1. THE ABILITY TO ADAPT Adapting to geopolitical changes, which can impact safety and security, oil prices, investor confidence, and travel, will be critical for business owners in 2020. Changes can be positive or negative, and smart entrepreneurs need to be agile enough to respond quickly and appropriately. This could involve anything from revisiting entire business development strategies and redeploying team members, to refocusing on new trade opportunities and implementing savvy marketing that capitalizes on situations as they arise. For example, since the launch of online tourist visas to Saudi Arabia in September 2019, interest in travel to the country has soared, meaning that for hotel operators like ourselves at Aleph Hospitality, it's now a key target market for future development.

2. THE HUMAN FACTOR We foresee significant changes when it comes to the demographics of our human capital, which means another mindset shift for entrepreneurs. Millennials, also known as Generation Y and born from the early 80s to mid-90s, have already impacted the way businesses operate, from the use of technology to updated HR policies, such as flexible working. Now, Generation Z, or the post-millennials (those born between the mid-90s and mid-2000s) are coming of age, and the profile of the workforce is changing once more We can't assume young professionals at the start of their careers have the same desires and outlook we had some 10, 20, or 30 years ago. In many ways, they will push the boundaries of what we expect an employer to provide, from the oft talked about work-life balance, to the sense of doing something with a social conscience that is more than "just work."

Related: Five Reasons Why You Should Consider Fresh Graduates When Hiring For Your Organization

3. PUTTING FAMILIES FIRST Following on from the above, we believe there will be a transformation when it comes to family-friendly working policies, and the number of women in the workplace. Steps have been made by major corporates globally to improve career opportunities for women, and entrepreneurs need to follow suit. How do we adapt our team structures and business planning to accommodate maternity leave? How can we offer more flexibility than local regulations may demand? We should be going above and beyond to ensure maternity and paternity leave works for the mothers and fathers that contribute so much to our businesses, ensuring they have the time needed to invest in their families, and ultimately, return to a job they love, ready to work.

4. PROTECTING DATA Entrepreneurs across all sectors rely on the collection of customer information to serve their customers, as well as to grow their businesses. As such, we have a responsibility to protect people's personal information and to be vigilant, implanting data security policies in line with legislation. If such legislation becomes stricter, and consumers become more cautious regarding what they are willing to share, the data we are able to collect may become limited. What will the impact of this be on your marketing, your sales, and your overall business? How can we find new ways of reaching the people we need to partner with? This is something that you need to think about for your business.

Related: The How-To: Using Consumer Intelligence To Revolutionize How Your Business Uses Its Data

5. CONSUMER EXPECTATIONS Just as our daily lives are impacted by technology and digitization, so too is the way we interact with companies. As business owners, we need to be aware that the consumer's expectation for their journey with us is influenced significantly by ever-evolving technology. In the hospitality and tourism industry in which we operate, there are numerous factors at play, some of which are seemingly at odds with one another. Ensuring personal security, for example, is paramount for the success of the travel industry, yet at the same time, customers are demanding mobile check-in and contactless payments. How do we balance implementing face recognition software that will make the traveler's journey seamless with ensuring that individuals feel safe and secure? Opening our minds to the potential offered by technology, while remaining true to the core ethos of our businesses will be critical in the years ahead.

Related: Five Reasons Why Every Entrepreneur Needs A Great Mentor

Bani Haddad

Founder and Managing Director, Aleph Hospitality

Bani Haddad is the founder and Managing Director of Aleph Hospitality, a Dubai-based independent hotel management company, committed to maximizing asset value for hotel owners in the Middle East and Africa. Aleph Hospitality has 10 hotels in its portfolio, and has earmarked a pipeline of 35 hotels in the region by 2025.

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