Why Entrepreneurs Need To Be Adaptable – And How To Do It

As an entrepreneur, you know that consistency is a staple of business. It helps to create a solid brand and sets expectations for your customers. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to remain static. Indeed, one of the realities of the commercial landscape is that change is inevitable. More than ever before, entrepreneurs need to be adaptable. 

It’s generally best to avoid being reactionary in this regard. There are certain elements you won’t be able to predict, of course. But a commitment to strategic planning can help you forecast issues and maneuver accordingly. Importantly, this also empowers you and your business to stay ahead of the curve and make competitive decisions. 

We’re going to examine a few key aspects of future planning as an entrepreneur. What should you focus on and how can it help you thrive?

Adopt Efficient Financial Practices

You may have a strong culture and some innovative ideas. But it is often your finances that will ensure you can continue operating and thriving. As such, one of your key future planning priorities must be directed toward methods of making your finances perform more efficiently.

Your future planning should, therefore, begin with a commitment to regular cash flow analysis. You can’t make efficiency adjustments or create an expansion strategy if you don’t have solid data on your financial activities. Be thorough here. Identify every point of income and expense and go so far as to forecast flow for the months and years ahead. This gives you a more informed position to act from.

Alongside changes based on your internal data, there are also more efficiency measures you can implement. Technology and best practices have developed to the point where office operations are not strictly necessary for all types of business. Coworking spaces tend to be more cost-effective than paying rent, utilities, and insurance. Not to mention they are designed to support high levels of collaboration resulting in greater productivity and innovation. The best coworking providers know that entrepreneurs need to be adaptable, so 24/7 access is a given.  

Another form of efficient cost cutting can be to embrace automation wherever possible. Seek out software to handle basic repeatable actions and minimize the administrative load that cuts into profitable productivity. Even invoicing and bookkeeping can be automated through software integrated with your business accounts and your bank. Put these measures in place as early as possible. By doing so you are maneuvering your company into a good position to navigate the future in a financially responsible way. 

Keep Assessing the Risks

One of the consistent realities of entrepreneurism is the presence of risk. No matter your industry or company size, there are always going to be hazards involved. Unfortunately, these can develop and change as often as any other element of the market. As such, part of your future planning needs to include frequent risk assessment and management. Always keep the same mantra in mind: Entrepreneurs need to be adaptable!

Some of the more changeable forms of risk involve the needs and demands of your workforce. For instance, while a Generation X workforce may prefer traditional spaces, Generation Z is showing enthusiasm for coworking spaces. The risk here is that failure to stay on top of these needs means your business can miss out on vital forms of recruitment and retention. As such, part of your risk management strategy needs to include engagement surveys with both your employees and assessments of the labor force in general.

Alongside the generational risks, you also need to be able to understand the developing technological risks. Yes, fresh digital tools can be exciting. But each new software platform and piece of hardware can present new dangers. It is vital for your company's information technology (IT) department to monitor the development of new equipment and stay on top of the possible risks.

Data security is a prevalent concern in this regard and security in traditional environments has come a long way. Nevertheless, many businesses failed to quickly adjust to the new data challenges associated with the shift to remote operations. There are additional points of vulnerability with mobile devices. This is particularly problematic if the equipment is left unattended or public internet connections are used. Utilizing coworking spaces with more secure networks can be a solid form of risk management here.

Plan for Agility and Flexibility

One of the issues with future planning as an entrepreneur is there will always be unexpected elements. You can certainly do your best by running assessments and committing to regular market research. But this has its limits. Therefore, one of your most powerful forms of future planning is in finding ways to make your operations more agile. This allows you to more effectively adjust to changes and thrive beyond them.

This should begin with diversification. You may have a niche, but putting all your business’ eggs in one basket can make it more difficult for you to maneuver market changes. Your diversification can take several forms here. This could include diversification of sales channels to ensure you can provide services no matter where your customers are. It may involve the diversification of your company investments to make certain you still have capital should one part of your portfolio experience a crash.

Beyond diversification, it’s worth planning to make your staff more agile and flexible. Create a development program that gives staff training in various professional disciplines. This allows you to move them between departments or functions as your needs dictate. 

It can also be wise to plan a transition to more agile operations. Shift to a hybrid structure or offer access to coworking spaces a couple of days a week. Should in-office procedures become impractical later, your staff and business are already prepared to adjust. You’ll also find this more flexible approach to working can attract younger employees.

Conclusion

It’s important to acknowledge that the business landscape can change significantly over time. As the pandemic demonstrated, entrepreneurs need to be adaptable to sudden change, too. A commitment to thorough and frequent future planning is essential to overcoming the obstacles here. This should include focusing on long-term financial efficiency measures and risk management practices. 

Making your company and staff more agile can also help you navigate the unexpected. It takes some effort and sometimes additional investment, but your efforts can empower you to thrive as an entrepreneur.

Gen Z Loves Coworking

Author bio: Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer living in the Pacific Northwest. She writes about workplace culture, the Great Resignation, cybersecurity, and entrepreneurship. You can find her on Twitter at @hamiltonjori

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