The business world has changed over the past 20 years with the advent of the Internet, increased competition, and new outlets for reaching clients or customers.

Today’s businesses must be flexible, adaptable – ready to take advantage of new opportunities when they present themselves. Long-established, deeply entrenched business systems can slow down growth. Business owners must be prepared to change, and change quickly. That’s not always easy.

What can you do to prepare your business to stay nimble? How can your company adapt to change, and turn on a dime? Now’s the time to plan for whatever comes your way – good or bad.

Here are some suggestions on how to prepare your business to adapt to changing times.

1. Data harvesting. Collecting data on the competition can help you save time and money. Watch what the competition does, gather numbers on what works, and do what the competition does. Keeping a close eye on competitors can keep you from being surprised by new products, new services, or new marketing ideas.

If it works for the heavy hitters, chances are it’ll work for your small, nimble business, ready to swoop in and beat the competition at its own game.

2. Internet management. Your website, online advertising, social media – all of these digital opportunities can deliver powerful results, but only if your website is deep in features, your advertising dollars are spent wisely, and you have a lot of friends on the company’s Facebook® page or LinkedIn® profile.

Have a trusted, reliable member of your team learn how to take control of your online activities – even if it means going back to school to learn how.

3. Keep your advertising up-to-date. Fluid marketing enables you to constantly refine where you spend promotional dollars to deliver more visitors to your business.  Constantly review your printed materials and be prepared to modify them to keep up with market trends.

Integrate your on- and off-line marketing. Include your website address in print ads like brochures and product sheets. Provide contact information on every page of your website. Market channel integration requires businesses to stay nimble to stay competitive, and to get the most from even the smallest promotion budget.

4. Stay current within your business sphere. Today, you can deliver answers to clients’ needs using computers, tablets, smart phones, print ads, and electronic cable spots.  You can become a valuable resource for clients and prospective clients by providing information in as many ways as possible.  It can build goodwill and create repeat visitors who turn to your company for answers, but it also requires that you stay up-to-date with the latest information and technology.

Read industry blogs, attend trade shows and conventions, and regularly conduct an Internet search on business strategies and tactics employed in your business realm.  Then, share this information with prospects. Knowledge, in the Information Age, is valuable business currency. Stay up-to-date. Stay nimble.

5. Hire people who are multi-faceted professionals. Create a management team that wants to adapt, a team comfortable with frequent changes. Many companies are bound by business systems that went out with black-and-white TVs.  If your staff is nimble, your company can be nimble.

7. Maintain your business’ credit, or stash some cash from operations. To stay nimble, companies often require infusions of capital, which may not be available through routine business operations. Talk to your bank representative to review your business activity, the competition, and your marketing strategy – look for ways to use your business credit to take your company to the next level.

Apply for, and keep, a business credit line to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Having a commercial line of credit may enable you to open another store to expand your service region – taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.  The storefront may be available today, but tomorrow your main competitor may sign the lease, and you’ll be out of luck because of a lack of cash.

Stay nimble. It’s an effective best way to stay in business in a business world that changes daily.

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.

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