The Great Depression of the 1930s, the 9/11 attacks, the Great Recession of 2008-2009, war, embargos, panic. The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t the first time business was disrupted, nor will it be the last. When it comes to business, and life, uncertainty will always be a certainty. Never knowing for sure what lurks around the next social, political, or economic corner is part of doing business.
The best way to take uncertainty as it comes is to be prepared, and the best way to be prepared is by being agile. Like a well-trained athlete, your business needs to practice being nimble year-round so that it can boldly take on new and unexpected challenges. Learning not to sweat the small things when times are good will help you navigate rougher waters when times are tough.
It is not just the unexpected that causes waves, however. In an age of ever-evolving technology and social media, the standards that define your market can change quickly even in more predictable times. Playing old tunes for a new crowd simply may not work or may only work for a few. In the funeral services business, reaching only a few isn’t enough; the funeral services industry services all. It is a big, diverse new world out there and your business needs to meet each individual client where they currently are through agile thinking.
How to think differently
Different times call for different thinking. Adjusting how you analyze issues and plan for the future is not a one-and-done endeavor. Agile thinking is an ongoing, cyclical process. You can begin this process by adopting an AGILE mindset: Adapt, Generate, Invest, Listen, Engage.
Adapting is perhaps the most essential principle of agile thinking. If your business is not willing to change, it won’t progress. In order to continually fit in and thrive, you must be willing to adapt to the ever-changing market that surrounds you. A solid business keeps a flexible foundation that responds smartly to change.
Ideas and products and content and profits. Business is about generating useful, desired goods and services. Even companies with longstanding, iconic products, such as Coca-Cola and Apple, never stop to rest on their laurels. They succeed because they continue to create new and interesting things.
Some might think of investing as throwing money in a mutual fund, sitting back, and watching it grow. However, “invest” is an action word, especially when it comes to your business. Investing in your business, your clients, and your market is an ongoing operation that, when done well, will continue to produce impressive returns.
With so much action ongoing, it’s easy to forget the more passive process of listening. A big part of taking action is also taking some quiet moments to listen, absorb feedback, and reflect. Business agility is only effective when you know where you need to be going and head in the right direction.
Google, websites, SEO, blogs, reviews, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, Yelp. The list of engagement possibilities is so long that it can feel overwhelming. Deciding how to best engage your clients and potential clients is where the other four principles of agile thinking really come together. Listening to feedback, adapting to fit that feedback, and generating and investing in new directions allows you to engage in more meaningful ways.
Structure your agility
Many people think being flexible means not planning things out, but the reality of being agile is quite the contrary. Building business frameworks, like a solid budget and a thoughtful strategic plan, actually create the space for you to move more freely with the changing times. You are prepared to adapt when you have a plan to do so through responsive business structures and AGILE thinking. Keeping your business in shape and ready to roll with the punches makes whatever is lurking around that next corner much less terrifying.
Contact the JCG team today to learn how Johnson Consulting Group can help you plan your future.