According to The Census Bureau, small businesses make up 99.7% of all businesses in America and they account for 48% of all private-sector jobs. Clearly, small businesses are a vital part of our economy. Though we often focus on advantages for large companies like funding and resources, there is one consistent advantage that small businesses have: agility.
Let’s discuss what business agility is, how it can benefit your small business, and simple ways to ensure your small business remains agile.
What is Business Agility?
Business agility is the ability that a business can rapidly adapt to changes in the marketplace. This can include changes in customer needs, new technology, or shifts in the competitive landscape. In order to be agile, businesses need to be able to quickly develop and deploy new products and services, change organizational structures as needed, and make decisions quickly.
While business agility is often associated with technology companies, it is becoming increasingly important for small businesses as their industries become more fast-paced. Businesses that are able to embrace agility will be well-positioned to succeed in the years to come.
Agility for Small Businesses
Agility allows small businesses to stay competitive and relevant, which is essential for long-term success. Small businesses, especially family-owned or brick-and-mortar, carry a reputation for adapting slowly to competitive changes because they have a proven formula for success. But agility doesn’t require them to write a new formula. It’s simply a way to tweak and improve operations to ensure the customer experience is always improving.
Additionally, being agile helps small businesses to be more responsive to the ever-changing customer needs and demands. Customers appreciate being able to get the products and services they need in a timely manner. By being agile, small businesses can ensure that they are providing the best possible experience for their customers.
Lastly, small businesses that are agile have an advantage in that they can rapidly experiment with new ideas and pivot if necessary. This agility gives them a significant competitive advantage over larger businesses, which often take longer to make decisions and implement changes. As the business world continues to change at an ever-faster pace, changing with it could ensure your long-term success.
How To Be Agile
A lot of small business agility comes from cultural changes within your business. Here’s a few easy steps you can take in order to improve your business agility:
Listen to your customer base
By ensuring that your customers are heard, you will be able to anticipate their needs and make necessary changes to stay ahead of the curve. In today’s fast-paced world, listening and responding quickly is essential for success. By focusing on your customers, you can ensure that your business has the agility it needs to thrive.
Create a diverse work culture
A team of many diverse talents can bring a variety of skills and perspectives to the table. This might help your business identify opportunities and threats more quickly. Additionally, a diverse workforce can help you tap into new markets and reach new customers. From marketing to customer service to product development, a well-rounded team will be able to provide the small business with the support it needs to succeed. Even for smaller businesses with fewer specialties, different perspectives can help fine tune business operations. In order to attract the right people, be sure you are agile about hiring trends and what benefits your employees might want.
Know your technology
Staying up-to-date with technology will help you can adapt your business practices to take advantage of the latest tools and ensure that you are providing the best possible products and services to your customers. Showing an investment in staying current with the latest industry trends will give potential customers confidence in your business and encourage them to choose your company over a competitor. Even if your customers don’t see your technology investments, they will certainly benefit from your efficiency. There are many ways of staying updated about technology, like subscribing to publications and attending trade shows. You can also maintain a presence on social media and interact with industry leaders and influencers.
Sustainability is often mistakenly seen as an environmental issue, but it is much more than that. Yes, a sustainable business operates in a way that protects and enhances the environment. But it also adopts practices designed for long-term success and operating methods that will survive regulations and legislation. With sustainable methods and values, the business attracts high-quality employees. Promoting sustainability as a small business could increase your long-term growth, whereas your competition may be focused on short-term gain. Even small investments in sustainability can pay off over the long term.
Consumers are increasingly concerned about the impact of their purchase decisions on the environment, and they are willing to pay more for products that align with their values. Implementing sustainable practices could mean your business stays on the map far longer than the competition.
Automate the easier tasks
By automating key processes, small businesses can free up resources and redeploy them to more strategic tasks. Additionally, automating routine tasks can help to improve efficiency and accuracy. By streamlining processes and eliminating the potential for human error, businesses can run more smoothly and effectively. You can automate tasks such as invoicing/collections follow-ups, workflows, and payroll to save time right away.
Agility is not a target you want to hit, but a journey you want to follow. Even after you’ve achieved some success, continue to improve your agility as your business grows. This will allow it to remain flexible within the market. By being agile, small businesses can stay one step ahead of their competition and keep their edge.