Every year, 6.5 million businesses are launched by aspiring entrepreneurs – all with their own ideas of success.
Unfortunately, by the fifth year, half of them do not survive.
If an entrepreneur is to survive in a constantly changing business environment, agility must be prioritized.
In fact, a business’s ability to respond and adapt to those constant chances is a key determinant in its success and longevity, according to a report by the Project Management Institute and KPMG.
For any new entrepreneur, it includes choosing the right tech essentials for their startup, hiring and cultivating a culture of agility in their team, and creating built-in contingency plans in all strategies.
1. Plan For The Unexpected By Building Flexibility And Contingencies Into Your Plans
When launching a new business, you must plan for the unexpected. Whether it is shipping delays, supply chain interruptions, or situations out of your control, having a contingency plan in place helps entrepreneurs respond well and in time to challenges.
A great example of this has been the recent health crisis, which has seen millions of small businesses grapple with unforeseen challenges like store closures and a sudden shift to eCommerce.
One of the most important ways you can prepare for the unexpected is by creating a business continuity plan. According to CIO.com, entrepreneurs should begin by assessing their business processes and identifying which ones are most vulnerable.
Another move that improves your agility is securing business insurance policies, including cyber business insurance.
While some entrepreneurs may view it as an added overhead expense, securing business insurance protects your cash flow in the event of theft, business interruption, natural disasters, and now, cybercrime.
Each year, cyberattacks cost businesses $200,000 on average, and potentially disrupt many budding organizations. Finally, when creating your business budgets and cash forecasts, remember to allow for a margin of error.
This means adding a standard buffer percentage to estimated costs, drafting backup options for suppliers or products, and implementing quarterly reviews to update your plans according to market conditions.
2. Make Predictive Analysis And Software A Key Part Of Your Operations
If you want to be agile in business, you must be able to gauge the future changes and prepare for them in time.
With the help of business tools and software, you can access useful market and business data, which you can then use to adapt and make your business more effective.
For project management, software like Trello and Jaira helps entrepreneurs keep track of tasks done. They can also be integrated into resource software to analyze resource inefficiency, wastages and project costs.
For a new business, this can prove to be crucial as wastage of resources like finances can leave a business unable to launch successfully.
For instance, 82 percent of businesses fail because of cash flow management.
3. Keep A Backup Career Or Income Source
Launching a business is expensive. It can take a while to get your business off the ground and self-sufficient.
Maintaining your career while launching your business presents three benefits: financial security, flexibility, and opportunity for transferable skills.
The income you have coming from your career or other income streams will provide much-needed financial flexibility to change business plans or adapt to changes.
It also helps entrepreneurs develop key skills on the job that they can apply to their own business, such as customer communication, budgeting or financial planning, or handy tips for launching your own eCommerce business.
4. Create an Agile Workforce
Finally, it is important to cultivate a culture of agility in your workforce, including with yourself as an entrepreneur.
This means encouraging employee development (as well as ongoing self-development), collaboration, and empowering your team to take full autonomy.
Identify key strengths in your employees, and utilize or develop those skills.
Remember that agility in business applies not just to your product development or business functions, but also to your leadership style and approach.
Some would even say that agility is one of the core competencies in leadership today.
Focus on building self-managing teams and encouraging agility in all layers of your business.
Coupled with supportive tools and strategies, it can be the first step to creating an effective and agile business.