Successful businesses must stay nimble as the economy changes, particularly when things are uncertain. That is why we often heard the word “pivot” during the 2020/2021 COVID-19 pandemic and why we are hearing about “nimble” businesses today. As the economy changes, so must we.
Even as we build nimble businesses, systematization can come in handy. This is something that Adi Klevit spoke and Founder and Group Facilitator at Abunden, Karl Maier, discussed in a recent interview. During their talk, they answered the question, “Can you build a system for staying nimble in today’s economy?” The short answer was “Yes.” Below, you can find the longer answer, along with some action items that you can put in place to build nimble systems in your own company.
Can You Build a System for Staying Nimble in Today’s Economy?
Staying nimble requires two significant steps.
First, look for opportunities that others do not see.
An example that Karl gave was a manufacturing company may consider pulling their manufacturing from China and bringing that process closer to home to avoid shipping delays, supply chain upheavals, and more.
You can spot opportunities that others are missing by building a system. Here’s a suggestion that works well for viewing the big picture and potentially tackling new opportunities:
a. Forming a group of diverse and knowledgeable industry professionals to provide perspective and advice.
b. Looking at your industry and seeing where you are not served well – or finding something that irks you.
c. Talking this through with your group and finding out what niches are causing stress in their areas of expertise.
d. Discussing past solutions to these problems.
e. Discussing potential future solutions to these problems.
f. Learning what implementation of those solutions would take. Is that more of a problem than it’s worth? Or would the solution add value to your company?
g. Developing systems with your knowledgeable group to implement the best solution.
This is a high-level system, but it’s something that you can use to stay nimble and tackle new or underserved areas in your industry.
The second step to staying nimble is:
Dig into your business data.
This includes reviewing processes, taking a look at financials, and digging into metrics. The idea is to remove all preconceived notions and look at the raw facts.
One of the examples that Karl provided for this step is a chemical company he worked for that thought their major income generator was the oil/gas industry and that they were just breaking even when serving the construction industry. However, when they looked at the raw data, they discovered that the situation was opposite to what they thought. The construction industry was carrying their business, and oil/gas was just scraping by. This enabled the company to make changes to their pricing model and increase profits.
Building a process around digging into your business data can be simple. Here are a few steps that you can use as a layout for your unique business process:
1. Determine the information you will be examining.
2. Find all of the information from every source available.
3. Review the metrics and systems, and query those involved.
4. Talk to subject matter specialists as needed.
5. Write out your conclusions with references to the related information.
6. Review this information with your team and subject matter experts.
7. Create an action plan based on this information.
8. Repeat every ___ (6 months, year, two years).
Removing assumptions and operating on hard facts will enable your business to adapt to changes and find opportunities to outperform competitors.
Are you interested in building a business with well-thought-out systems and established metrics that show growth over time? Get in touch with the experts at Business Success Consulting Group. We work with company owners to create systems that undergird growth and build scalability.