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Three tips for an agile business strategy

Three tips for an agile business strategy

Since March 2020, business leaders have had to handle change at a speed and scale that many have never experienced before. Regardless of size or sector, companies were faced with the uncertainty of not knowing their next steps. 

The impact of the global pandemic led companies to prioritise innovation, test-and-learn mentalities, and incremental gains as they pivoted in response. Now, with the IMF predicting a global economic rebound of over 6% by the end of 2021, business leaders’ tenacity is paying off. The agile mindset inspired by the recent turbulence is here to stay – so what learnings can companies take onboard moving forward?

Reimagine how you approach challenges

Even for companies with years of growth under their belts, uncertainty can reawaken challenges often faced by start-ups. How can we sustain our business? What steps are needed to kick-start our progress? 

Businesses from all industries have been learning how to evolve in the current climate. Spotify, for instance, tuned into greater audience demand for content. With listeners spending 60% more time with remotely accessible entertainment, the audio streaming platform diversified its offerings with exclusive podcasts. 

In the hospitality sector, restaurants transformed into subscription-based services, sating customer appetites with weekly meal kits for home cooking. Wholesalers, meanwhile, adapted their business models to sell stock direct-to-consumer following the impact of lockdowns on supermarket shelves. What do all these pivots have in common? They placed customers at the centre of change. 

Although start-ups are founded on agility, established businesses often slow down – but they can also tap into this. By using current demands to direct change, companies can turn challenges into opportunities for growth. 

Look at the bigger picture

When you know where your business needs to go, how do you effectively implement progress? It’s critical to step back and look at the bigger picture to understand the scope of change needed to sustain a business. Too often, leaders are prone to working in their company and not on it, a concept coined by Rhett Power. Valuable time that should be invested in business development is instead spent overseeing its day-to-day running, but this skews a leader’s priorities.

First and foremost, a business leader must act as a guide to their company. They must identify barriers to success and allocate the best talent and resources to overcome them. As change is inevitable in every industry, holding onto this outlook will allow business leaders to make clear, decisive actions that benefit all of their teams. 

Taking a step back also gives you the headspace to ask the important questions – in what other sectors can your business offer value? How can you adapt your services to drive outcomes? How can internal processes be refined to support success? Exploring these avenues are the first steps to a business becoming more innovative and agile,and helps streamline the process for tackling future challenges.

Build an informed internal strategy 

With a tangible objective and an unclouded perspective, leaders can then pinpoint which areas of a business to reform. While this is sometimes a tough decision, it isn’t one that they need to make blindly. A test-and-learn approach is vital for entrepreneurs to keep track of progress, learn from past actions, and make informed decisions for the future. 

This is the DNA of agility and durability. By identifying trends ahead of time, monitoring how changes deliver tangible outcomes, and building a plan of action based on data, you can deliver informed leadership. Crucially, teams are more responsive to clear business goals and transparency regarding performance. This creates a strong sense of accountability across a business and, as a result, change becomes positive and constructive.

Focusing on evolution can make a leader’s role even more enjoyable. While concern over big decision-making is a given, it isn’t something that should hold entrepreneurs back. Finding strength in handling challenges and creating a process to overcome them sets a precedent for ongoing agility, sustaining business progression no matter how dynamic the circumstances.

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