How is it that large businesses with nine-figure expense sheets can consistently get beat by smaller businesses that have just a tiny fraction of the same resources and manpower? It’s a good question with no singular answer.
However, if you study these smaller businesses and how they’re able to thrive in competitive industries with much bigger giants, you’ll find that they almost always have one thing going for them: agility.
What Does it Mean to be an Agile Company?
Within the context of a business, agility refers to an organization’s ability to respond to market changes and make important adjustments in real-time. It has a lot to do with a company’s ability (and willingness) to adapt without much time or resources.
“The agile business is one that can respond quickly to market changes, customer and client demands, and its own accelerated timelines,” InformaTech explains. “It can make decisions quickly, and take action on those decisions. It can move easily from project to project.”
The agile company might not always have the deepest pockets or most talent, but they’re able to make up for it with a high degree of dexterity and adaptability. And, truth be told, that’s something every organization of every size should be pursuing in 2021 and beyond.
4 Tips for a More Agile Biz
Going from a rigid business that follows strict processes and never budges on anything to a company that’s much more fluid and willing to “go with the flow” requires a rather significant transformation. Here are a few tips to make this shift happen with greater ease:
- Create Cross-Functional Teams
In a traditional business structure, you organize employees and teams by function. There’s the marketing department, IT department, sales team, HR, finance and accounting, etc. And while there’s nothing technically wrong with this, it often leads to silos. This is where individuals within the company only know how to function within their individual departments.
So, for example, the sales team might have product knowledge, but they’re totally removed from what the marketing team is doing. Likewise, the marketing team isn’t up to date on what’s happening in the finance department, and so on.
Too many silos lead to blind spots. They also make it difficult to implement significant changes throughout the organization. But one way to fight back against this is by developing cross-functional teams where members of each department collaborate together and acquire skills that allow them to become more versatile employees.
- Encourage Team to Fail Fast
Failure isn’t always a bad thing. Every business is going to fail from time to time. The only question is, how long does it take you to fail?
Successful organizations fail as much as (if not more than) less successful companies. The only difference is that they know how to fail fast. This saves time and money, while allowing the business to iterate much faster.
- Stay Up to Date on the Latest Trends
Agile teams avoid being close-minded. They lift up their eyes and look around them – taking in everything that’s happening in the larger industry and marketplace. And if you want your team to be agile, they must be “in the know.”
At a bare minimum, your team should be studying the latest tech trends, so that they can stay on top of what’s coming down the line. One way to do this is by reading Tech Report each morning. This will give you an idea of what major tech developments are likely to impact your organization and give it the greatest chance to be successful over the next six to 12 months.
- Speed Up Collaboration
It’s impossible to be agile in business if you don’t have smooth and fast internal communication processes. Effortless collaboration is a must, but it won’t happen by accident. You have to develop intentional strategies and processes that keep your team focused.
One tip is to move away from email and to switch to a chat application like Slack. This removes the distractions associated with email and makes it easier/faster to respond. As a result, projects are able to develop much faster.
Set Your Business Up for Success
The right mixture of agility and innovation is enough to give any business a chance of being successful. Implementing the aforementioned tips will put you on the right path. Good luck!