by Kemmy Raji
With 30.2 million small businesses operating nationwide, we cannot ignore the magnitude of small business impact on the local economy. The importance of small business to local communities is deeply rooted in buying and selling with friends and neighbours. .
In some towns and villages, a small business is the only type that can survive while serving a reduced population. In a big city, small businesses often offer a more diverse inventory or specialize in providing unique or personalized customer experiences. Small businesses also present new employment opportunities and serve as the building blocks of Nigeria’s largest corporations.
However, small Businesses in Nigeria rarely have a business strategy plan to grow their business. “As they say, once is coincidence. Twice is happenstance. Third must be enemy action. If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail.
In addition, the current COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of small businesses in the fight- or- flight mode. While some businesses could pivot and regain their composition, lots of business didn’t survive the pandemic.
Business agility is the answer to the challenges of an ever-changing business environment today. But it requires a deep cultural shift, focusing on the human beings that create, manage and use your product.
What is Business agility?
According to the Agile Business Consortium White Paper, business agility wants to: “enable businesses and individuals to be more adaptive, creative and resilient when dealing with complexity, uncertainty and change.”
Being agile means being able to respond to change fast. If you’re embarking on a digital marketing project, the narratives of the communication plan might have changed before you roll out the project. It makes little sense to write a concept now and have your people work on it for a couple of months to bring your ideas to life, but there is no longer need for it. You need a continuous collaboration between your teams and the users/customers. To be malleable, you need a structure that enables you to set smaller goals, continuously tracking and adjusting to your environment, understand and meet your Users’ needs. But how to get there?
Embrace agility to create a long-term business growth
Agility doesn’t create a one-off solution. Today’s flexibility creates long-term opportunities for growth. And, if your growing business can keep an agile spirit when other growing competitors take on the more robotic attitudes, your company can keep the competitive edge that keeps your employees engaged — and your customers coming back for more.
Create an audacious business vision
Start when you are! Create a business vision. This should be an interesting goal that stretches your business to achieve greatness. Concrete, concise end goals separate successful businesses from the rest of the pack.
Establish realistic priorities
Don’t abandon your goals but break up your projects into smaller tasks. Don’t achieve perfection, but keep perfecting your product or services on the way. Create visibility and track progress you and your team are making.
Invite honest communication
Create a culture of communication where everyone can speak up and new ideas are welcome–even if they challenge your deepest convictions. Create a thinking environment which thrives on psychological safety. People are willing and able to share ideas and thoughts without fear of repercussion.
Hire the right people
You need a strong core of highly motivated people who are not afraid to take risks, offer new ideas and feel they are adding value through their work. As a business owner and leader, you need to put the people first, supporting them rather than give orders.
Trust and transparency
When you hire the right people, empower them. Trust your people and hand over responsibilities. Let them choose their own pace and use flexible hours, and you will earn loyalty. Manage the work, but not the people.
Raji, writes from Canada