Being nimble or agile in your business is a luxury of the small. Once you grow, it’s difficult to get buy-in for change. In downturns, we have opportunity – especially if we plan for uncertainty.
The only thing that is constant is change. Economies expand and contract. Recessions happen. Industries change. When we plan for uncertainty we are ready for opportunity. To be nimble we need to pare down our overhead, outsource, and keep our eye on the curve.
Know your overhead
I know. Finances. Ugh. No one likes to talk about managing your own finances. It’s important to know your nut and keep an eye on it. A nut is your monthly overhead costs for your business. If you pay for things annually, then amortize them over the year. Start a Google Sheet and get an idea of how much it costs to run your business.
Keeping an eye on your overhead helps you decide if your estimates are on target, for one thing. Additionally, it allows you to set aside budget for marketing and advertising. Being nimble in your business is only possible when you know this number.
Once you have your nut in mind, you can find spots where budget may not be spent wisely. This is where you can pare down. Once you have the most optimized budget, you’re in the perfect place to be nimble.
“Things are going well, so there’s no reason to get on someone for going over budget on Google ads this month. But if the goal is growth in an uncertain climate, keeping spending in check will be key.”Emilie Bingham
Outsource instead of hire
Outsourcing and, sometimes, automation can get great alternatives to hiring employees. Employees typically add 35% to your overhead beyond their wages. This is the labor burden. A lot of companies try to 1099 people and still treat them like employees to avoid the labor burden; beware, this puts you at a huge risk.
Being nimble means you can expand or contract your business. Having a couple sets of vendors allows you to take on bigger projects. When things get tight, you don’t have ongoing costs of an employee’s salary or benefits. You simply do not have projects out to bid. The construction industry does this often and well.
“I’m a big fan of doing things manually twice myself, then I look to automate to save time and optimize processes, rather than bringing on someone. This allows me to keep things lean as I grow my business. I’ve had several pivots in my business with the latest going all in on NurtureKit for providing services. Had I had a team of employees, that would be much more difficult as I find new opportunities to provide amazing services to my clients.”Jason Resnick
Keep Your Eye on the Curve
When you’re first learning to drive a car, it feels like every detail needs your attention. You’re looking in your side mirror, the rear-view mirror, in front of you, every billboard, the cars in front, the car behind you, the cars next to you. It’s overwhelming.
Then you have to learn to drive on windy roads. Driver’s Ed teachers tell you to look to keep your eye on the curve. You gaze in front of you with your focus on the horizon. This is how we maintain nimble businesses. Look at the trends. What’s coming next? What technology can help you? Who has run across your path?
“But futureproofing isn’t just about investment. You need to plan properly. Always keep an eye on what’s next. Business forecasting is all about strategy.”Sharon Fishburne
Change Your Offering
So many of us in the tech space are used to working from home. We’re used to distributed teams. We’re used to project management software and video conferencing and juggling household chores and work and balance in our lives. And. And. And.
For those of us in tech, the quarantine because of COVID-19 allowed us to shine, to grow, and to change. There is something to be said for economic downturns. It’s always an opportunity for those who see it. It’s an opportunity to shine, reform, package, repackage. It’s our moment to grow.
“One of the greatest advantages of WordPress is the plugin & theme ecosystem. A user can leverage these pre-made solutions to rapidly create ecommerce sites, membership portals, or blogging platforms that help grow audiences and create new revenue. With a worldwide pandemic happening, I’ve seen many agencies offering affordable turnkey solutions and small business owners uncovering new opportunities. Combine that with one of the largest software communities in the world and your opportunities are endless.”Matt Medeiros