There is a razor-thin line between success and failure for a small business. The ability to be highly flexible and respond quickly often gives small businesses a desirable advantage over their much-larger competitors because they can adapt to take advantage of growing opportunities and changes in their particular industries.
Small business owners are constantly looking to evolve, knowing that where they start may not be where they end up. But, looking forward and adapting also includes costs and competition. So, how can small businesses stay flexible in the face of these challenges? Here are three can-do items to add to your small-business flexibility list:
- Look for a niche. The simple nature of a small businesses allows it to spot and react more quickly to market trends and changes. If you’re out of ideas, the U.S. Small Business Administration suggests conducting a market survey with current and/or potential customers. Look for opportunities in areas that are being ignored by your competitors. As added feature or a change in a product or a tool aimed at a small but passionate audience might be all you need to attract new customers.
- Find technology that fits multiple needs. Larger businesses may have receptionists, IT departments and contractors, but for small businesses, implementing technology that has a big-business look and functionality without the cost is a must. Many companies now have various “cloud services” available that provide small businesses with big business capability. Microsoft’s Office 365 for Small Business offers such capability at a small price, and the technology can grow with your business.
- Cultivate communication within. You can often find great ideas and strategies by asking around the office. Talk to your employees daily about their ideas for growth and hopes for the future…and really listen. Keeping that channel of communication alive will help you identify inefficiencies in your operation and shine the light on new opportunities. Not only are you finding ways to increase production and profitability, you’re also making your employees feel more invested in your small business.