29.09.2021 12:30

How to Make Sure Your Small Business is Highly Adaptable

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What is the purpose of your business?

Regardless of what industry they're in, enterprises of all sizes seek to expand their customer base and increase revenues.

It's all about growth.

Business isn't static. Companies are living things that grow and evolve in cycles.

When adversity hits or there is a downturn in their sector, savvy leaders change their strategy or try new marketing ideas. When business is good, they're able to manage growth in a way that's scalable and sustainable.

In other words, they adapt to changing circumstances in order to survive adversity, meet an emerging need, and manage expansion more effectively.

How Adaptable is Your Company?

Are you prepared to incorporate new technologies, trends, and best practices into your business model?

Do you have the flexibility you need to pivot when market forces warrant a change?

How Adaptable is Your CompanyMany smaller companies couldn't withstand a catastrophic event like a data breach or lawsuit and come back stronger.

Most business owners plan and hope for eternal sunny days ahead, but have no idea how they will handle a worst-case scenario until they're faced with making a decision at the moment.

Or, perhaps they see changes coming and scramble to come up with a plan in time.

Too many SMBs are vulnerable because they don't have the technology and a strategy in place that allows them to remain lean, flexible, and relevant in good times or bad.

The Importance of Adaptability in Business

If you were to tell your brand story, how would it proceed?

Are there plot twists and pitfalls along the way that you survived?

When you set priorities and clearly define business goals, you're prepared for anything.

Planning and agility help you stay on course and allow you to allocate resources where they'll provide the best ROI.

If you want to come out on top and serve your market well, you have to remain adaptable.

Here's how it's done.

Building an Adaptable Business Model

In order to be successful, business leaders need three qualitiespersistence, adaptability, and a strong work ethic.

Your persistence and work ethic will provide fuel for your success. Remaining adaptable is the rudder the steers you home.

Every startup begins with passion and an idea, but there are always adjustments to be made when things don't work out quite the way you envisioned.

Building an Adaptable Business ModelEven when you don't run into the same setbacks and missteps that are common as you transition from eager startup to established enterprise, the world around you will change as new trends emerge.

For example, automation is a game-changer that many SMB owners are unprepared to tackle successfully.

The further you are in your development cycle, the more difficult it will become to shift your perspective and reroute your course.

For these reasons, it's important to have a flexible mindset from the beginning.

4 Strategies for a Highly Adaptable Businesses

The Harvard Business Review designated Adaptability Quotient (AQ) as "the new competitive advantage" as far back as 2011.

It is an essential quality for any size company to have, but it's even more important for small business owners in highly competitive, increasingly global marketplaces.

AQ is defined as “The ability to adjust course, product, service, and strategy in response to unanticipated changes in the market.”

This kind of flexibility is essential in product development, market and competitor analysis, and lead generation/customer retention.

For example, you don't want to create a static product when you're targeting a dynamic audience or industry. Just ask the CEOs of Blockbuster or Borders Books. A great example of this is technology, which has a high rate of obsolescence due to advancements being introduced at a rapid pace. Even if tech isn't your product, it will still affect how you do business.

For example, companies that once managed all of their processes and storage on-site are finding that cloud computing is more cost-effective and convenient.

Cloud-based technologies allow companies to collaborate and share data more efficiently, they bolster security and protect data integrity, and they allow a level of scalability that caused a high rate of business disruption in the past.

If you refuse to acknowledge this reality and incorporate it into your business processes, you'll suffer the consequences. You may as well hang a digital "Closed for renovation" sign on your website and wave goodbye to your customers as they move on.

What are some ways that you can adopt a more flexible, agile business model?

1. Remain Fluid and Improvise When Necessary

Bruce Lee once advised us to "Be like water".

Water is able to assume the shape of whatever contains it without changing its cellular structure. It's fluid, strong, and flexible without losing its inherent power.

When you're able to remain fluid and improvise as circumstances warrant, you can quickly adjust to the unexpected and retain your momentum. Momentum is the secret hack to success!

The most basic example is the script that telemarketers use to pivot their approach and overcome customer objections or answer questions.

Your goal is to develop this ability on the fly in real-world situations.

In that way, you can bridge the gap of uncertainty by filling in the unknown with concrete answers that move the customer relationship forward.

2. Stay Curious and Never Stop Learning

The smartest people on earth acknowledge how much they don't know. They're curious enough to fill in information gaps and try to tackle problems from a unique perspective.

These are the innovators who are constantly looking to improve on their successes and learn from their failures.

Leaders who are curious are passionate about learning new things.

This kind of curiosity-fueled passion is contagious.

It will inspire your team to be more open to innovation, support critical thinking, and spur creative problem-solving.

Those are the foundations for developing an agile, adaptive mindset.

3. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Passion and improvisation must be tempered by a solid strategy in order to avoid chaos and reap positive results.

Never lose sight of the big picture, even when you're pondering the details of how to bring your vision to life. This is not just important for business leaders, but for the whole team.

When those who populate your enterprise have a road map for where they're going and the tools they need to stay on the right path, they also gain the autonomy to pivot and make good decisions as needed.

This not only preserves the customer relationship, but it also frees your time and energy to work on business-building strategies.

For example, you have a sales associate who hits a wall when trying to upsell a client on a new service. Rather than having options at hand that incentivize the client to say yes, they have to check back with you to get suggestions.

When the objective is clear - expanding services - and your sales staff has the autonomy to act in a way that's in line with the objective while providing value to the customer, the situation can be resolved quickly and with positive results.

You just have to trust your team and provide them with the bandwidth they need to make some decisions on their own.

4. Embrace Technology

In business, some people fear technology as something that threatens their survival. Farsighted leaders see it as something that enhances their business.

You can leverage technology by finding new ways to implement it into your business.

Take the customer service situation above and ask yourself how technology could facilitate a faster and more efficient process.

Perhaps you could deploy machine learning technology to your website that triages customer questions.

This allows your company to prioritize critical issues and divert those calls to a representative and handle common or repetitive issues immediately in real-time.

Implementing this type of technology would provide your customer support team with more time to tackle difficult problems in a personal manner and dispense with everyday issues quickly.

You could also use advanced tech to gain deeper market insight, for decision making, and to segment your audience.

Before investing in advanced tech, gather team leaders and find out:

● What are the common issues that are taking up unnecessary staff time?
● What technologies are available to solve these issues?
● Is budgeting going to be a problem?
● How much time or money will you need to invest in staff retraining or onboarding?

Final Thoughts on Making Sure Your Business is Highly Adaptable

Over the past 50 years, the life expectancy for the average startup has declined from 75 years to 15 years or less.

When it comes to business, be a chameleon rather than a dinosaur.

You can accomplish this feat of corporate evolution by remaining true to your core values and mission while changing how you reach your goals to reflect shifts in your environment.

Adaptability is the key to survival in the digital age.

By incorporating the above strategies, you'll stand a better chance of withstanding the change of any kind and come out a winner.

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