Every business has its own unique structure, goals, and processes. However, if you study the most successful companies in your space, you’ll almost always find that they have more flexibility and versatility than the rest.
What is a nimble business?
Have you ever noticed that it’s the small startups with limited resources that tend to create more change than massive corporations worth billions of dollars?
That’s kind of an odd thing, isn’t it? It seems counterintuitive. But when you look at why this is true, it’s not all that hard to understand.
Larger companies have so many different rules, regulations, and processes in play that it typically takes them weeks to make decisions. Smaller startups, on the other hand, can move quickly. In other words, they’re nimble.
“Being nimble in business means being able to change and adapt to different circumstances,” AGPR explains. “It means having the ability to adjust organizational structures, leadership practices, and techniques to meet new market needs and fend off competition. But it’s also something that is devilishly hard to do, and most large organizations fail.”
A nimble business doesn’t materialize out of thin air. They require intentional design and plenty of discipline. Listed below are a few ideas to help you move in the right direction.
4 Tips for Operating a More Nimble Business
Want to make your business more flexible and nimble? Consider taking the following action steps.
1. Eliminate unnecessary layers.
The more layers you have in your business, the less flexible you become. The days of tall organizational structures where you have an executive leadership team, followed by department managers, followed by a hierarchy of employees who each report to very specific people are falling by the wayside. They lack agility in a marketplace that demands it.
Tall structures are being replaced by flat structures. Layers are being banished and companies are viewing their employees as members of a team rather than a hierarchical ladder of people who report to one another.
While some layering might be necessary, do what you can to keep it to a minimum.
One popular method is a three-layer approach that consists of the CEO/founder, team leads, and team players. Under this setup, the CEO is in charge, the team leads each manage their own individual teams, and everyone else is a team player. It’s simple, nimble, agile…yet still organized.
2. Encourage transparency.
Every individual within your organization has to feel like they can speak up and tell it like it is.
By encouraging transparency, you avoid scenarios where people feel like they have to beat around the bush or tip-toe around certain topics. Fostering a culture of transparency will make your business more nimble and help you make decisions faster…with more buy-in as an added bonus. People who feel heard are far more likely to go along with decisions with which they personally disagree.
3. Use the right cloud solutions.
Technology can be a boon or a hindrance to your efficiency. Choosing the wrong technology can slow you down and create more confusion than anything else. On the other hand, the right technology can streamline mundane tasks. Picking the right solution will allow you to automate processes that would otherwise steal significant staff hours from more important tasks.
The ubiquitous availability of the computing cloud changes everything. With cloud solutions, you’re able to implement fully functional and scalable solutions. You can do this without having to commit to long-term contracts. It’s also easier to connect cloud applications with one another to maximize your results.
If there’s one cloud solution required for a business that hopes to become more nimble, it’s implementing some form of back-office software. This typically looks like adopting an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to help you manage sales, accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, and inventory in one place.
4. Get more specific with your customer profiles.
The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to adapt.
To keep your business nimble, you’ll want to be so in-tune with your customers that you can sense shifts in their wants and needs before they actually occur. How do you put yourself in this position? It starts with crafting very specific customer profiles.
If you don’t already have customer profiles, start creating some. From there, continue to refine and update these profiles based on what you see on social media and through your website analytics. As these profiles evolve, your business will be able to respond appropriately.
Adding It All Up
As your business becomes more nimble, you’ll find it easier to innovate. You’ll also discover that you’re able to adapt to changes in the marketplace without having to jump through a bunch of hoops or do a ton of work on the back end.
Ultimately, you’ll put your business in a position to be successful, regardless of what happens. If you’re interested in making your business more nimble, now’s a great time to get started.