Having a flexible business is imperative, especially today. On the other hand, having a rigid business is equal to planning it’s demise. Without flexibility your business cannot adapt to changing times or supply and demand. And it’s not just within the team, the founder has to be ready to accept changes to his or her initial concept as well.
At some point, a company may need to change direction, and the founder has to be willing to go along with this change. “The key design work often happens after launch,” Stuart Skorman (Serial Entrepreneur) says. “Being agile and flexible means that no matter how much I love this idea I have to be flexible. It’s also a sort of opportunism.” (Excerpt from SmallBusiness.Yahoo.com)
You have to have a flexible business because opportunities that were never considered before often present themselves throughout the years. Unless you’re prepared to go in the direction you need to take your business, you could lose it all, or just as bad, stay stuck in a rut leading nowhere. And I’m not talking about reacting to impending failure (thinking smaller, i.e. cutting costs). I’m talking about adapting for success (thinking bigger, i.e. raising the bar).
It’s imperative for your business to continue to meet the needs of your customers. With changing times, needs change. Failing to identify and meet changing needs means you’re leaving a lot of money under the table. It’s so important to understand the competitive dynamics of your industry or niche, as well as the overall financial environment — and how value is not only being created but perceived.
Having a flexible business model is imperative
The more you think like a CEO, the more you understand this concept of flexibility. As your business grows you must always be challenging current corporate and operational methodology. The founder and CEO of the business needs to listen to the advice of the core team. If you’re not in the field anymore, your team could know more than you do, particularly if you’re the one holding the reins.
Without a flexible business, it can become mired in slow-growth markets, vulnerable to emerging technologies or, equally devastating, lack a compelling story for its future growth.
A flexible business is innovative
When I talk about innovation, I’m not talking about technology. Being innovative with your business in two ways can easily make the difference between success and failure.
- Uncovering new (innovative) ways to penetrate your market on a broader scale (such as contracts or retainers, subscription or monthly services, etc.)
- Expanding into adjacent (overlapping) markets or products (such as new but related products or services)
Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
That’s a good analogy of a flexible business taking advantage of opportunities and curtailing risk. I’m not talking about taking your business into uncharted territories here. I’m talking about filling the “white space” your business leaves open.
A small, flexible business is far ahead of the game in these areas over large companies where risk is too often greater than reward. Large companies are not flexible. They can’t be. They largely focus on retaining market share and keeping up with the Joneses of their competitors. Especially in hard times, they often cut off new innovative ideas and get back to what they consider the basics.
The small flexible business has the advantage every time. Use it to benefit yours.