Business Growth Insights

Small Business Agility is the Future

Small business employees and resources surrounding the word agile suggesting business agility. 

Just a little over ten years ago, businesses were beginning to jump on board with a new social media platform known as Facebook. It seemed a little silly that the site where people posted cute kitten and baby pictures could impact a business, and for many companies, it wasn’t worth the effort to pivot their marketing plan.

Today, the small businesses that were early Facebook adopters are likely much larger businesses today (or even acquired by a larger company for a life-changing sum).  That’s because those companies took advantage of a small business’ most significant asset: agility.

“Agility truly is the future for small business. The business environment, market trends, and economic circumstances change surprisingly fast. The small businesses that are prepared to adapt quickly will not only survive, but they will thrive into the future,” said small-business owner Elizabeth Eiss, Founder and CEO of the talent curation and freelance recruiting platform ResultsResourcing.

Agility and Innovation

Agility and innovation are strengths of small and mid-sized businesses. On the other hand, larger organizations don't do this as well due to sheer size, legacy, and infrastructure constraints, plus investors tend to get spooked by sudden moves, preferring proven strategies. That’s why instead of adapting or innovating, many large corporations tend to acquire – to harness new technologies, embrace business models, or remove competition.

As the saying goes, it’s easier to turn a boat than a battleship. For small businesses, agility has never been more important and such a strategic advantage. The COVID-19 pandemic proved that there is always a surprise around the corner, and you can never prepare for every contingency. Still, you can pivot and adapt, like how successful small and mid-sized businesses quickly adopted Zoom, e-commerce and moved to optimize social media.

An Agility Case Study

“I’ve found that the willingness to pivot is essential to success, specifically my own,” said Eiss. “My goal with ResultsResourcing was always to customize our job platform and recruiting services to the specific work requirements of each client – best matching them with a choice of qualified freelance professionals. To determine work needs, we initially used a simple online survey to prompt clients to itemize their job needs. Then we’d finalize the job spec through a consult call between the client and our expert recruiters.”

“We discovered, however, that this survey process, simple as WE thought it was, overwhelmed clients who were not skilled at defining their needs. Our idea was right, but the process and workflow were wrong. We needed to meet clients where they were. That meant re-ordering our process and starting with the consult call to build the job profile together with our clients. With this agile change, we immediately demonstrate the value of our services, set client expectations, and help clients better understand the contract talent they can get for their budget from the very first interaction. Business agility! Same time and effort (frankly, often less) but in a new order that matched the buyer’s thought process – and resulted in better job specs and recruiting success. Win/Win!”

Tips to Maximize Business Agility

Here are a few ways small and mid-sized businesses can remain agile and keep their focus on delivering their core customer value:

  • Build ways to continually hear from your customers so you know what they are experiencing in their operations. Recognize that their needs are directly driven by what THEIR clients are experiencing, too.
  • Watch the marketplace for direct and adjacent trends that can keep your business anticipating and innovating to deliver core customer value.
  • Pilot new ideas and find ways to get your clients involved in the process to test and get buy-in. Many will be flattered and excited to participate.
  • Embrace the flexibility and agility of gig economy labor models. Tap into the wealth of talent and insight from contractors and freelancers by adopting an agile talent strategy.
  • Build relationships with contractors, so you’re their preferred client.

Agile Talent Strategy

An agile talent strategy helps companies keep operating costs steady yet variable, ensuring they can quickly scale up and down as needed.

“Businesses tend to get stuck in a mindset of ‘acquiring’ talent the ‘traditional’ way – hiring full-time talent to be ‘in control’ of human resources. Control is an illusion. This mindset tends to trap companies in a costly cycle of paying for full-time employees, even if the need is not full-time. This then creates pressure to keep those resources productive and engaged to justify the full-time expense. This may drive work that’s not the highest priority for the company and requires time and oversight by its leaders, diluting their focus on core value delivery to clients,” said Eiss.

“Every business needs top talent to succeed in their market. In general, small companies can’t compete with big brands for full-time talent in terms of salary, perks, and brand recognition. The solution? Hiring quality freelance pros who deliver top-grade talent at a variable cost that a smaller business can manage. Skilled freelancers often have big brand experience that small businesses can now leverage.”
Dive deeper into business agility with our next article in the series, 5 Tips to Maximize Small 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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