5 Reasons You Need To Achieve Flexibility in Business
Confucius is quoted to have said “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.”
Among other points, he may have been saying that the subtle strength of flexibility is not to be underestimated. And this lesson extends to your business as well. No matter how large your business has grown, if it isn’t flexible enough to bend during the “storms” of tribulation, it could break apart right in front of you.
What Is Flexibility in Business?
Flexibility can be defined in a lot of different ways. Physically, you may be flexible if you can touch your toes without bending your knees. But what exactly do we mean by flexibility in business?
For the purposes of this post, we imagine a flexible business to be one that can easily, quickly, and effectively adapt to changes in its environment. Such changes could revolve around customer needs, industry standards, marketing opportunities, or any other external factors that can influence the way your business operates on both small and large scales.
A business looking to evaluate its flexibility could ask questions like these to determine just how well it can turn on a dime:
- What would you do if you lost 50% of your clients tomorrow?
- What if your client list doubled tomorrow?
- How would you respond if a competitor was suddenly able to emulate your services for far less than you?
- Could your business survive if standard employee compensation doubled over the next year?
Asking these sort of hypotheticals–and even planning for them–will go a long way towards making your business more flexible. And here are 5 reasons that it’s worthwhile learning how to bend rather than break.
#1 – You’ll Land More Clients
Part of flexibility in business means being able to apply your existing skill set to tangential markets.
Maybe you provide SEO services, and the majority of your clients are local businesses like plumbers and electricians. If you can learn how to stretch your search engine optimization skills to also benefit national brands, e-commerce sites, and other industries, you’ll open up entirely untapped markets for yourself.
To help your business move in this direction, brainstorm a list of potential client bases that could make use of your services. Then determine how you would need to tweak your current practices in order to fit these clients in without sacrificing quality.
#2 – You’ll Keep More of the Clients That You Already Have
In addition to opening your borders to more and more clients, remaining flexible also means that you’ll have a better chance at keeping the clients you’ve already landed.
Maybe you are a writer who mostly deals in ghost writing blog posts, for example. It would be natural for some of your long time clients to also need sales copy writing services from time to time. If you aren’t flexible enough to adapt to these demands by learning new skills, they’ll find someone who is. And, if the copywriter they hire also does blog content, why would they stick with you if they could get everything from one source?
While the art of saying “no” is an important skill to learn, there are times when saying “yes” is a crucial step in stretching your wings and improving the flexibility of your business.
#3 – You’ll Operate More Efficiently
Beyond the services you offer, flexibility in business applies to your methods of operation as well. Some business owners have a tendency to get stuck in their ways. “It’s not broke,” they say, “so why fix it?”.
The problem with this mindset is that there is a distinct difference between broken and inefficient. Every single aspect of your business could be working just fine. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an infinite amount of room for improvement. Often, young businesses are built in reaction to the ever growing demands of the industry. After a few years, it’s very natural for all of the little pieces of your business to not work as efficiently as they could.
A flexible business will constantly be on the lookout for changes it can make to policies, practices, software, personnel, and more in order to improve performance.
#4 – You’ll Build a Better Team
As a business owner, you’re only as strong as the team you’ve got supporting you. Remaining flexible in both your hiring practices and the way you let your employees do their job is a surefire way to build the best team that your business needs to succeed.
For example, many business owners are set in their ways about only hiring people who can work in their local office. But doing so cuts down your hiring pool to a fraction of the size it could be. That’s why flexible businesses are making it more and more standard practice to hire remote workers. Whether these are full-time employees or freelancers hired on sites like Legiit, there is an entire world of talent out there for businesses to capitalize on.
#5 – You’ll Grow Faster and Bigger
Perhaps most importantly of all, an inflexible business is going to struggle to grow beyond its current boundaries.
Imagine two businesses. One has all the systems in place to easily take on twice the number of clients it currently has. It’s got a process for hiring new staff as the need arises. It’s got standard operating procedures for onboarding new customers. It’s got fulfillment automated so that everything that needs to happen does. Most importantly, this business has a leader that is ready to shift these practices as the need arises.
The other business isn’t as flexible. Every new client requires direct action from the owner. There are no SOPs in place, and the business can’t adapt to a sudden influx of new customers.
Which of these businesses is more likely to benefit from a strategic marketing campaign? Which is more likely to take action every day to grow?
A business that isn’t built to be flexible is going to get in its own way. It will be so caught up in its out dated practices, that it won’t be able to concentrate on breaking new boundaries.