Keeping your small business agile

By Henry Brown

Before we look at the different ways you can keep your small business agile, let’s unpack what it means a little bit.

What is business agility? 

Basically, business agility is the ability of a company to do the following:

-Respond quickly and flexibly to what your customers are demanding – and in the world of social media, it can change rapidly.

-Adapt to the market changes – both externally and internally

-Work on making changes in a cost-effective and productive way that doesn’t compromise on the quality and standard that your customers are used to

-Continuously be at a competitive advantage

It is about the evolution of the values and services of your business at speed and always without compromising on quality.

What is an agile business?

It could be said that an agile business is one that embraces agile values and philosophy at its core. An agile business is one that is very focused on its customers too, responding and implementing changes with speed and efficiency. Many companies are now adding some form of agility into their business model. However, it is easier to have that built-in during a start-up than later implementation.

Quick hacks

When it comes to building agility into your plan, there are a few things that you can use that are quick and effective.

Small and attainable

When you talk about agile management, you are talking about some incremental changes on the way to bigger project completion. What does that mean? Well, it means that you need to set a range of smaller goals on the way to the bigger goals. You basically never bite off more than you can chew. Instead, you take smaller chunks out of the project and feel the bonus of reaching those goals.

It is important to note that this method was actually developed with developers in mind. The goal is to test, develop, test, and develop again – until they got the program finished. When projects last months or even years, the small goals will give a sense of achievement across the board and provide a method in which to see how the project is going in terms of time and budget too.


Here is where the agile method really comes into its own. No matter what, it will hold true to deadlines and deliverables. Every project has a deadline that will never move. It won’t be pulled forward, pushed back, or changed in any way. In fact, it is one of the most ruthless parts of an agile method. No matter what happens, the day of the deadline, you will hand over whatever you have. Something is technically better than nothing. Even when the delivery is small, there is now room to discuss, change, critique, and continue. This method is very good for start-ups because your goal is to actually launch, and if you are spending too long perfecting and not stripping it back, going lean and fast – then you might never get there. Improving on something is better than improving on nothing.

Change fast

This is where agility meets an understanding with most people. Being agile means changing fast, working on your toes, and having the reflexes to do it. If you have been working on a project for months and the funding fails, or you don’t meet your goals, then you need to change the game plan and fast. Accommodating everything as you go.

A great example is all of the businesses that worked on Oracle only to find that it wasn’t supported after a point. Oracle forms migration was the order of the day – quick and effective change. To make rapid changes, the decision-makers within the company need to have all of the information, which they will have due to the ruthless deadlines and goal setting.

The scrum

This is where people who are involved in the project will get together, communicate, and get things finished. The group will turn into almost a hive mind, and many different goals will be reached during this time. The scrum is only ever 15 minutes long, it is intense and motivational, and everyone will state what they are doing that day. Consider it like a large accountability meeting – where everyone is making commitments. This isn’t the place for concerns, though – this is a goal and commitment meeting only.

Technically it is easier to launch a start-up using the agile method, but you can implement it at any point in your business. It is typically better to strip ideas back, look for the MVP and go lean – when you consider agility, consider speed and nimbleness.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.


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