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The Alternative Board Blog

How to Become an Agile Business for the Long-Term

Aug. 4, 2020 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
PlanB

While every business owner has their own story about how they got started in business, if there’s one thing we all share in common, it’s that we hope our business succeeds. When many of us began our entrepreneurial journey, we dreamt big and had a vision of where we wanted our business to be years down the road.

Along our path to success, most of us experienced setbacks, some more hindering than others. Take COVID-19, for example. There isn’t one business that hasn’t been impacted by the global pandemic in some way. Some businesses were able to fare better than others. How were they able to accomplish this? Well, for many, the business owners remained agile in their approach to business. They adapted their businesses, moved it online in some cases, or reconfigured their operations to align with their remaining clients.

Over the last few months, I have been working closely with many of my clients to identify aspects of their business to make them more agile, and relevant to their clients. Now is an ideal time to review your business for any possible areas that you can improve upon and “safe-guard” to remain stable during future times of uncertainty.

I’ve outlined below a few recommendations to help you create an agile business for the long-term:

What Does It Mean To Be Agile?

According to the Agile Business Consortium, business agility is the ability of an organization to:

  • Adapt quickly to market changes,
  • Respond rapidly to customer demands,
  • Adapt to change in a productive and cost-effective way without compromising quality, and;
  • Continue to be at a competitive advantage.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at what changes you can make to your business to make it more agile.

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Have A Flexible Operating Model

If there’s anything the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us, it’s that business can come to a screeching halt at any moment. For businesses that rely on in-person transactions or physical locations to execute their operations, you risk a significant profit loss if your operations are suspended for an indefinite amount of time. For this reason, it’s important to have a business continuity plan that addresses the logistics for a virtual operation. To remain even more competitive, now and in the future, I recommend fast-tracking the digital transformation of your business. As technology evolves, both businesses and consumers will become more reliant upon it, so consider incorporating it into your business sooner rather than later.

Diversify Your Revenue Stream

As business owners, you already know that you should never put all your eggs in one basket, or you jeopardize losing everything if anything goes wrong. Much like how the swift closure of businesses during COVID-19 demonstrated the need for a virtual operation, it also showed us the importance of having a diversified revenue stream, especially for businesses that were considered non-essential. To diversify your revenue stream, I recommend analyzing your resources to see what you have available, and then consider new or alternate applications based on what you have. You may realize you could provide a new product or service for your current client base, or start offering in-person services online, or even consider branching out into an entirely new market segment.

Broaden Your Horizons

Most business owners never find the time to review or even reassess our vendors and suppliers. During COVID-19, many businesses had no choice but to find new resources due to shipping issues, product availability, and price point. Now is a great time, if you haven’t already, to create a list of key vendor questions and to start interviewing new vendors. You may find that you can source your product faster and cheaper locally. You may find your chosen vendors are still the best for you, but at the very least you will know who else is out there if your business was to ever need an alternative.

As we begin to recover from the initial aftermath of COVID-19, I encourage you to use this time wisely to truly strengthen your business by building a solid foundation. To do this, I challenge you to rethink your business model, think outside the box, and take chances. If you need help getting started, The Alternative Board is here to help you succeed.

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Written by Phil Spensieri

Phil Spensieri is a TAB Facilitator in the York Region of Ontario, Canada.

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