Business Growth Insights

5 Tips to Maximize Small Business Agility

Two business and freelance professionals discuss ways to innovate and evolve business agility. 

Agility and innovation are two of the biggest strengths for small and mid-sized businesses. These qualities ensure that companies can quickly adapt to changes in the business environment, market trends, and economic circumstances so they can survive and thrive

“Business agility truly is the core attribute of small businesses,” said Elizabeth Eiss, small-business owner and Founder and CEO of the talent curation and freelance recruiting platform ResultsResourcing. “In my experience, there are five steps that every small and mid-sized business owner can take that will maximize their company’s agility.”

1. Build ways to constantly hear from your customers.

The only way for small businesses to succeed is if they completely understand the wants and needs of their customers, clients, and partners. However, these wants and needs change because they are driven by what a business’ clients are experiencing, too. In order to stay on top of delivering customer value, it is essential that small business receive constant feedback from their consumers.

“The best way for businesses to encourage constant communication is to develop methods where both parties benefit,” said Eiss.

For example:

  • Feature positive client stories on your website and social media posts. Be sure to include a link to the customer’s site.
  • Schedule meet ups with key clients to inquire about their businesses and how to serve them better.
  • Build work processes that deliberately involve customer interaction, ones that are not sales oriented.
  • Include a prominent feedback link on your website.
  • When considering changes in strategy or workflow, proactively involve trusted clients and get their input. Schedule a meeting with these clients on transactional and marketing communications, as well.
  • Develop direct channels to the executives of trusted clients that are in addition to the normal chain of command.

“Customers always notice when a business provides the opportunity to interact, and even if they don’t choose to, they appreciate the effort. It reinforces your brand’s focus on customer care, listening, and action.”

Normally customers only reach out when they have a complaint. However, when a business makes communication easy, it sets the stage for positive feedback, as well. Open and easy communication also helps you find small issues before they blow up and uncover new and innovative ideas.

2. Watch the marketplace for trends.

Deliver on your core customer value by paying attention to direct and indirect trends that keep your business innovative.

“Businesses need to have an open mind and thoughtfully consider how each trend might apply to their work process or provide market insight,” said Eiss, “However, not every trend is right for every business, so don’t immediately jump on an idea. Take a beat, consider your options, and talk to your staff and clients to see if the idea will drive value for your customer. You can also speak to others who are acting on it or a business association or advisor who’ll give you factual information. And, frankly, trust yourself. If you think a trend is just a ‘flash in the pan,’ well, if it looks and walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.”

3. Pilot new ideas and get your clients involved in the process.

Frequently, customers and clients are extremely flattered to be invited into a pilot project and excited to participate. However, you need to be thoughtful with how you position the benefit to your customers and partners.

“As a general rule, if you offer, say, a $50 gift card as an incentive, it seems to imply that your customer’s or client’s time is only worth that much, said Eiss. “Instead, find a business benefit that you can offer participants and make that benefit the focus of your promotion.

“You want to design the pilot inquiry in a way that is respectful of their time and explains how participating will help them or their business.”

4. Tap into the wealth of talent and insight from contractors and freelancers.  

Embracing a gig economy labor model can significantly boost business agility.

“It is possible to create a talent ecosystem of core team members who are supplemented and complemented by a circle of expert, dedicated freelance professionals,” said Eiss. “This is known as an agile talent strategy.

"An agile talent strategy delivers affordable, on-demand diversity to a small business. That’s because freelancers bring with them new thoughts and business practices. This can enable a company to shoot big and aim for the broadest possible markets or to narrow its focus and customize in ways that best meet the needs of specific target markets.”

5. Build relationships with contractors.

Once you have found freelance talent you trust, you want to become their preferred client. The only way to do this is to cultivate a relationship with them.

  • Treat them as valued talent.
  • Make time for them: onboard, educate, and involve them in appropriate staff meetings.
  • Pay a fair wage.
  • Communicate with them regularly. Make sure they understand your expectations for their deliverables.
  • Be gracious and publicly recognize them for their contributions and accomplishments.

Building a relationship with a trusted contract recruiting provider is also a powerful tool. This can save you time, hassle, opportunity cost and lower contract hiring risk.  Reach out to ResultsResourcing and discover how we can help you find quality freelance talent so you can practice business agility.

To discover how the ResultsResourcing team can help your company pivot to an agile talent strategy, schedule your free talent assessment.

ResultsResourcing blog

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