Flexibility with focus: adapting to change for long-term success

What happens when rapid technological changes combine with dramatic shifts in society, local marketplaces and global trends?

Change becomes the only constant.

Learning to adjust, adapt and overcome in a market that looks different every day requires that you reframe how you think of your business and future endeavors. The good news? You’re built for this. You don’t have the clunky methodologies ingrained in the cultures of household brands. You haven’t pigeonholed yourself into life as an employee. Your bank account may be lighter, your staff smaller and your time more limited.

Yet what you lack in assets you make up for in the flexibility to be creative and forward-thinking.

Here’s how to focus that flexibility to keep your business, and career, growing and profitable.

Shaping an adaptable, efficient brand

No industry or customer base is stagnant—even the most longstanding and sustainable. Which means you can’t be either.

It’s a mistake to sleep on the latest digital trends and tech. But it’s equally dangerous to let the fear of being left behind cause you to forget the importance of a cost-benefit analysis.

Technology is constantly evolving. But that often means the latest and greatest becomes obsolete nearly as quickly as it gained traction. Add in the fact that every update isn’t compatible with or worthwhile to every business, and jumping on each new idea can tank even a secure company.

Instead of trying to force trends to fit your business, look at how each does (or doesn’t) affect your brand. Then, decide if a cost-benefit analysis is even worth it. And if it is? If the update doesn’t pay for itself in droves or securely help to future-proof your brand, cool your jets.

Check out this exclusive Biz.me article, 3 tech trends that will revolutionize business in 2019, and start thinking about which, if any, will benefit your brand.

Remember that it’s not just tech—it’s people

Whether you utilize freelancers on occasion or have a full-fledged staff, your business is only as flexible and adaptable as your team.

Hard skills—what employers traditionally looked for—tend to be rigid. Sure, James knows Final Cut Pro inside and out (a hard skill). But, can he have an efficient conversation with the ad director to create the content you need? Will he meet deadlines? Can he handle multiple projects at once? And, in a few years when new software becomes the video editing go-to, will James be able to adjust?

All of these are soft skills that, when prioritized during hiring decisions, create a flexible team and work environment. Would you rather take a little more time training Sandra—who has a knack for talking to anyone, is always on time and thrives in high-pressure situations—to improve her Final Cut Pro skills and secure an employee who can change with your industry?

Or should you hire James?

Check out these exclusive Biz.me articles on hiring and employee management:

Rethink your management style, then adjust it

The management style you use for projects and business operations creates the framework for the choices you make. And, how your team works together and utilizes the technology available. Software development phrases are often repurposed to define management styles. Two of these are waterfall and agile.

In the waterfall method, one phase of a project or process can’t be completed until the previous one is. Linear and rigid, it forces a business and team into a step-to-step process that wastes time, limits creativity and puts your brand (and people) in a box.

Then there’s agile. This set of principles is designed to be as adaptable as a project, process and/or team requires, no matter what outside forces—like technology or market changes—come into play.

Here’s a more in-depth overview:

And this is how agile differs from waterfall (in a nutshell):

waterfall vs agile

Branching out into other ventures

Sometimes, growth and success require embarking on a new venture. Starting a second business is potentially more nerve-wracking and stressful than starting the first ever was. But sometimes, it’s the only path that makes sense.

Don’t be afraid to break into another industry

The best businesses arise from a need that an entrepreneur recognizes. Instead of running entirely on passion alone, take a cue from Biz.me reader Heather Lanker. She noticed a need for an event space in her town and leveraged her clothing business to make it happen.

Consider taking on a partner

Whether you decide to invest in another entrepreneur’s idea or work together to turn a concept into reality, a new business venture doesn’t have to be a solo act. And if you’re breaking into another industry, having someone on your side with more experience in that area is a huge bonus.

Be proactive and know your limits

What’s more time consuming than one business? That’s right: two. Ask for help, factor in hiring costs when developing your business plan, and be meticulous with scheduling time for both businesses.

But, also schedule time for you a la these exclusive Biz.me articles:

Rigidity, black-and-white thinking and inefficiency have no place in today’s market. Loosen your grip on tradition and vow to be innovative in your strategies and nuanced in your thinking. Then, when the global market is nearly unrecognizable in a few years, you’ll be amongst the disruptors left standing.


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