Every small business owner wants their business to be dynamic and resilient, at the end of the day.
Dynamic in the business can move lithely and change course as required depending on the demands of the market, rather than being stuck in the same groove and struggling to adapt to the fluctuations of the industry, or the innovations of competitors.
Resilient in the sense of the business being able to withstand the unwelcome but inevitable hiccups and obstacles that fall into the path of every business from time to time, and which may range from sudden failure of equipment or infrastructure, to the sudden disappearance or illness of a vital team member.
A business which is both dynamic and resilient has the capacity to survive the uncertainties and stresses that all businesses must face, and not only to survive them, but to actually thrive in the midst of the kind of chaos that would render many businesses unable to continue functioning.
That being said, here are some ways to make your business more dynamic and resilient.
Install your own generator
Electricity is so ubiquitous that we often take it for granted. It’s everywhere, so it doesn’t really register with us at all, for most intents and purposes. But what would you do, professionally and also personally, if the power grid went down?
Would you still be dismissive of the incredible role that electricity plays in your life – and in your business – or would you have a sudden realisation that all of your operations depend on being able to tap into a reliable source of energy?
For a modern business, disruptions of the local power grid can be absolutely devastating, particularly if they’re unexpected.
Data can be lost; the entire business can be rendered inoperative at least for a certain length of time, and, of course, revenue is likely to be lost to competitors who have contingencies in place for such an occasion as a power outage.
Investing in your own generator is one of the best ways of bypassing this issue. It should be something that every business owner seriously considers investing in, finances allowing, but if you happen to live in an area which is frequently afflicted by rolling blackouts, it’s all but essential. You can find used generators for sale at competitive prices, at different sizes, and suited for different types of operations.
Outsource to virtual assistants and freelancers
There are, of course, certain benefits to having in-house staff – or else no one would hire them and pay them a salary. Increasingly, however, many small business owners are finding that the new generation of digital workers are a more flexible and effective option for their needs.
Full-time staff members are typically more costly than freelancers, and represent a greater investment on the part of the business.
If a staff member quits suddenly, is unable to come to work that day due to illness, or has to be let go due to misbehaviour, replacing them can be tricky and costly, and in the meantime, the business can suffer significantly due to the shortage.
Outsourcing such tasks as can be outsourced, to virtual assistants and to freelancers, can help to create a level of resilience here, while also meaning that you generally only pay for particular projects and tasks, rather than paying by the hour.
You could hire a team of freelancers to handle a particular function of your business and distribute work evenly between them, or put them in rotation, for example. This way, if one freelancer drops out or is unavailable for work that day, you’ll still have others to seamlessly pick up the slack.
Virtual assistants, for their part, can handle much of the time-consuming admin work which would otherwise prove a major drain on your time and energy during the day.
Tim Ferriss, of the much-famed business lifestyle book “The 4-Hour Work Week” has recounted using a virtual assistant to handle everything from putting together spreadsheet presentations, to researching and booking his next private vacation.
Virtual assistants, much like web-based freelancers, are location independent, and often time-independent, too. They can work on a project while you sleep, thereby allowing you to be maximally competitive.
Furthermore, you can hire a virtual assistant company, and never be short an assistant – even if your usual VA is unavailable for a time.
Focus on the strength of your website and online marketing efforts
One of the major benefits of having a strong web presence, is that keeping your website up and running, and engaging in many forms of digital marketing, is cost-effective. While there are physical limitations on how much you can actually do in physical space with regards to marketing, the internet is essentially “no holds barred”.
Furthermore, while you may change physical premises, have your offices shut down by a natural disaster, or need to close up shop for a set period of time for renovation work, your website is for all intents and purposes always there, and always the same.
Focusing on developing a strong website and effective online marketing strategies can ensure that your customers always have a clear line to your business. This, in turn, makes you more resilient and dynamic.
Adopt a systems-focused business ethos
Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert cartoons, has famously made the claim that “goals are for losers” and “systems are for winners”. While it’s probably not wise to write off goal-setting, there is something to the claim that a systems-focused approach is a more dynamic and resilient way of doing things from day to day.
Put simply, “systems” are the behaviours that you act out on a regular basis, while goals are the specific targets that you shoot for over time. Systems, if productive and well-chosen, will yield benefit and success incrementally, over time.
Goals, by contrast, may be achieved, or may fail, and may need to be adapted.
If your professional goal is a certain amount of revenue increase in the next financial year, any number of issues may throw you off balance and compromise your ability to reach this goal, while damaging your morale, too. Adopting a more systems-focused ethos, however, allows you to stay productive, and growth-oriented, despite external circumstances.
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