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How to stay agile as your business grows

How to stay agile as your business grows

Remember when your business was just starting out? You probably enjoyed almost unlimited flexibility and freedom, and the sky was the limit. But as companies grow, so does the need to have processes and procedures that will keep things running smoothly – from keeping staff happy to paying suppliers and maintaining good customer service.

There’s a lot of talk about how important it is to stay flexible and agile as your business expands, but how can you keep the small-business spirit alive without sabotaging your own success? Here are four tips.

Hire leaders, not just followers

As a business grows, it’s natural to want to impose a hierarchical management structure that keeps the decision makers and workers separated. In a service-based business, however, this also separates your customers from the decisions that affect them. It’s often better to ‘get out of the way’ and hire staff who can take the lead. This might involve allowing them to sign off on proposals, or giving them more sway over hiring decisions. It also gives you more time to focus on the big decisions.

Review your goals regularly

Some businesses only review goals like their finances when the tax office requires them to. Meanwhile, they are left wondering why their revenue is dropping while costs continue to rise. Growing successfully isn’t just about size – it’s also about being able to adapt to change. Are the goals you set for your business when you started it still applicable today? Talk to your customers, keep an eye on your competitors, subscribe to industry publications – and make sure your strategic and change-management plans are kept up to date.

Be open to employees’ ideas

Innovation gets mentioned a lot these days, and the business that comes up with the freshest ideas is usually the most successful. But as your business grows, increasing day-to-day responsibilities can stifle your creativity. When this happens, consider handing at least some of the thought leadership to employees. You could incentivise this by offering rewards to staff members who come up with the most profitable ideas.

Embrace failure

We’ve all been told there’s a lot more to learn from failure than from success, and it’s true. But it takes more than just a willingness to learn – you also need to have the resources and processes that will enable you to recover from your mistakes and keep going. In smaller businesses, it’s often best to test run new ideas – such as new marketing initiatives and product updates – before putting a large amount of time and money towards them.

Agility doesn’t have to be difficult if you apply these principles consistently. And in a competitive world, being quick to adapt to change is one of the biggest advantages you can have.

Together with business growth comes an increase in competition from all sides. Find out why that’s actually a positive thing.

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