Anna Horan
Culture Journalist

Anna Horan is writer and editor based in Melbourne. She has written for Broadsheet, The Big Issue and Junkee Media, and is the former editor of TheVine.

Anna Horan
Culture Journalist

Anna Horan is writer and editor based in Melbourne. She has written for Broadsheet, The Big Issue and Junkee Media, and is the former editor of TheVine.

With traits about investment and rejuvenation, the Chinese Zodiac this year could be an opportunity to invest in new technology and review your business strategy for the next 12 months.

The Chinese New Year will usher in the Red Fire Monkey whose personality traits include intelligence, reinvention, problem solving, curiosity, creative energy and mischievousness. Whether you look to adopt new technology, or master your online presence, there are plenty of ways to reinvent your business for 2016. 

display of Chinese lanterns against temple

If you want a good return on investment, you must harness the power of the monkey

In 2016, technology has us in a state of flux and you’ll need to outsmart the monkey for projects to be relevant long term. We’re rocketing towards the third wave of the Internet and the Internet of Things – the Google trends graph has steepened vastly in the last two years. With the exponential speed of other technology, products like driverless cars will be commercially available faster than you think.

Just like the late David Bowie, the King of Reinvention, predicted the end of the traditional music industry and where Internet was heading with social media more than 15 years ago, think about where the Internet of Things could take your business. Which industries and current projects could it reinvent? Where is there potential?

Be prepared for insecurity and fast changing markets

While the monkey is smart, it’s also nimble and adaptable when times turn tough. The last 18 months have shown us that data and identity theft are more prevalent than ever. Adapting to new threats and keeping your anti-virus and firewalls up to date could save you a headache, and limit the cost of downtime should anything.

The US stock market has also had its worst opening week ever, so no matter how well things pick up, 2016 has already set the tone for an undercurrent of insecurity, financially and otherwise. Now is the time to be nimble, back up your backup system, and put in place extra protections.

Cloud applications simultaneously answer these needs without the need for on-site software that has to be manually updated for new threats. 

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Instigate regular exercise and health initiatives

The monkey is an active animal, with ongoing discussions about the importance of movement during the working day to our health, if there aren’t health or exercise initiatives in place, now’s the time to make it happen. Encouraging everyone to take a few minutes of movement and to switch off from work once an hour can have a dramatic effect on productivity and wellbeing.

There are a number of apps and videos out there that prompt you to get up and take a break, relieve stress through five-minute meditation sessions, do yoga at your desk, or start a dance party in the office. Dance Break developed by No Lights No Lycra and VicHealth is my favourite.

Make financial decisions based on facts, not emotions

The monkey can be impulsive at times, so keeping your cool can help you keep control. It’s easy to be guided by emotion, and not just our own. The media hyperbole around particular topics can give us the false impression that Donald Trump is a likely contender for the US presidency, yet looking at the Google trends and poll data he doesn't have a significant lead.

Data is like a form guide – it gives you the cold hard facts that you can weigh up to make a more educated decision. In 2016, rather than putting money on the favourite, find out all the facts and make up your mind about what's happening in the market and your business before you make big decisions. 

Seek out unconventional solutions to old problems

The monkey is a clever and inventive problem solver. While there’s some comfort in taking traditional paths when faced with tough decisions, the solutions that pay off in today’s fast moving and ever-changing market are tending to be the unconventional.

For example, making cuts is a fact of business life. But dialling back the spending doesn’t have to mean carving up your workforce. Offering the Netflix/Virgin model of ‘forever holidays’ with leave without pay could be something you could explore, simultaneously reinventing your business work structure, or find greater efficiency in admin costs with a cloud service like Australian motorsport safety provider Motorsport Safety and Rescue, who have saved an estimated $15,000 - $20 000 per year.

Every new year is an opportunity for reinvention.

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