Talent, Tech, or Agility? What’s Most Important for a Startup.

Remaining flexible and agile was the clear winner. That’s not surprising, considering the fact that small businesses need to pounce on every new opportunity as it presents itself, or risk losing out to its competitors. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to keep your small business flexible and agile, ready to tackle anything.

Set growth goals

Many small businesses want to grow, but have you actually set a growth goal for the business? How are you measuring growth success? And, if you’re aiming to grow and already have some measurements in place, have you communicated this with your team? To stay productive and agile, it’s best to have everyone understand exactly what they’re working towards. Whether your growth is measured in revenue, new customers, or new products, it’s your job as a leader to make sure everyone is working efficiently to crush the goal.

Even if you’re a small company, bureaucracy can still occur, slowing down the business when it needs to pivot. However, small businesses have the advantage of implementing changes much more quickly to eliminate inflexibility. Leaders should keep reviewing their training practices, workflow processes, employee tools, and how they hire candidates to ensure an optimized organization that can respond to shifts quickly.

Opportunities crop up all the time, whether it’s an acquisition, product expansion, or new geographical market. If these growth opportunities fall outside of your core business model, you need to be ready to shift gears. Share your vision with your team to get buy-in and support for growth. Cloud computing, which is naturally adaptive and agile, can be a big boon when facing change.

Encourage collaboration, cross-training, and job shadowing; not only do employees gain new skills, but they can also bring a new perspective and fresh ideas to the table. By fostering a change culture and having a flexible business model, your team is at the ready when opportunity knocks.

Prioritize communication

Small businesses and startups often have the ideal structures for communicating and collaborating. With fewer employees, tight-knit groups all working towards the same goal can supercharge productivity. Create an open atmosphere for employees to share ideas and thoughts, and keep everyone in the loop regarding new or upcoming plans, successes, failures, and any decisions impacting them.

When you work at a small business, there are always not enough hours in the day to do all the things that need to get done. It can be tempting to stick to the status quo, or what currently works to speed things along, but you’ll never grow that way. New products, better service, and smarter marketing often result from trying new things out. When you’re a flexible and agile small business, you’re better equipped to take these chances and try new things out than enterprise companies. If you fail, you can fail fast, learn from the mistakes and move on. But if you succeed, you continue to move forward.

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