Agility increases in importance as key to business innovation

In an ever-changing business landscape, where technologies and processes are constantly evolving, opportunities are ever-present. Being able to capitalise on them at the right time is dependent upon being in the right position when it matters.

For this reason, agility has become one of the most important factors in business, and is crucial for both innovation and the progression of any company. Those who don’t move with the changing times will get left behind (think Blockbusters and HMV!) and those who can manage to thrive without innovating will be doing the company a disservice by missing out on growth and profit.

So whilst we’ve highlight large corporations above, being agile is just as pertinent to start-ups and SMEs.

Be open-minded with business planning – whilst maintaining an end goal when business planning is important, being prepared to adapt to changing markets and opportunities and being open-minded about diverting the natural course is crucial in order to progress a business.

Build a network – whether it’s contacts in synergistic services that might help you to extend your offering, or having potential employees or freelance help lined up that you have explored and researched, having a head-start in this area so that extra help can be brought on board when opportunities arise is essential. A customer may decide they need to up an order, or use your services more frequently – and if you’re not ready to be geared up you may miss your chance.

Empower employees – for SMEs with an established employee base, giving staff more responsibility and empowering them to make decisions is one way to put agility into practice and reap the rewards. By giving staff more reigns, processes can be streamlined to be more efficient and customer feedback may be better recorded to help create an improved service. Communication can become more open and honest, with traditional barriers created by processes now broken down. Productivity is also proven to be higher in empowered staff.

Be financially prepared – this is the kingpin to business success – agility will be hampered if funds aren’t available when needed to take the business to the next level. Cash flow is king and by keeping a close eye on the books, including on-going and regular monitoring and forecasting, issues can be foreseen and dealt with before spiralling out of control, and opportunities may be more easily identified.

Gone are the days when a concrete business plan reigned supreme. Whilst a strong business plan is still important, it is now the ability to be agile that is key to business success and growth.