Are you an entrepreneur who owns a small business and wants to scale it up?

Or you’re just getting started with your new business and wish to take the world by storm. Either way, we are excited for you and your venture.

But how do you plan to achieve it? What's your big ploy for making sure that your start-up would survive the test of times and skyrocket to the next level? The odds haven’t been fair to your predecessors. Why would they be to you?

  • 70% of startups don’t make it to their 10-year anniversary. In fact, 50% can’t even get to their fifth.
  • 43% of experts say they know someone who had completely shut their businesses due to the pandemic. 
  • 23% of small businesses couldn't even pay their office rents in 2020. 

This massive failure of small enterprises can be attributed to various factors but the most popular ones are— 

  1. Products or services lose demand in the market.
  2. Looming financial stress and increasing debts.
  3. Not building the right team to get the job done.
  4. Increasing competition with evolving trends.
  5. Burned out and eventually lost passion.

Moreover, America now nestles 800,000+ Small & Medium size Enterprises (SMEs) which account for 48% of the country’s jobs and 43.5% of GDP. Imagine the carnage waiting to happen when enterprises fail and render millions of Americans jobless. That’s why entrepreneurship is a high risk, slow reward game and it’s not for the faint hearted.

But what if we told you otherwise. What if you can lower the risk, avoid all the aforementioned problems and double your chances of hitting financial goals with just one stroke. Wouldn’t you be thrilled and let out a woohoo into the abyss?

That’s exactly what agile is all about. Centered on lean agile principles and operational models, agile frameworks imbue agility, flexibility and adaptability into your company’s DNA. Here’s how agile can benefit your organization while it's still in its formative years.

How Agile Helps Your Small Business to Grow

At its core agile way of working is all about using short development cycles called ‘sprints’ to enable continuous improvement of a product or a service. As most startups employ small teams under flexible infrastructures, this new approach seems like a natural fit. In fact, the first thing we teach organizations with large infrastructures is to get into that start-up mindset.

1. Building Minimum Viable Product

One of the tenets of Agile product development is to get a basic version of the product that is just enough to use out the door quickly and see how it performs. Startups have always welcomed the concept of building Minimum Viable Products (MVP) but often topple while doing it

An agile framework helps figure out a workflow that supports rapid building and releasing of MVPs and gives your start-up a crucial head forward into the future. Once the product is out the door, your teams will get to see how the product is performing with your customers and what more is expected of it.

Integrating the feedback from all stakeholders and collectively deciding on the product vision, your teams will be able to create products that are right for both your business and customers. This guarantees that your product or service never goes out of fashion with your customers.

2. Building a High-Performing Team

In a traditional set up, professionals with the same set of skills of varying expertise come together to work as a team. Agile breaks this norm and postulates that an agile team should be a more cross functional team that comprises people with different skills working towards one common goal.

 This breathes a sense of ownership into every team member and they decide on what’s the best way to get things done and take full responsibility for the results. Additionally, agile frameworks offer various opportunities to look for ways to improve as a team and become more cohesive. In Scrum, this is called a sprint retrospective. 

One other desirable attribute of a cross functional team is that they are intricately collaborative and communicative. This adds to the overall ease of operations with heightened transparency and mobility. Prioritizing common goals and the company interests, they foster a positive work culture within organisations.

3. Becoming More Adaptable

Agile facilitates change and evolution. For startups, this is a huge bonus since the ecosystems are constantly changing and any company that adapts stays ahead of the curve.

The practice of short iterations and increments within agile enterprises pay off well during unprecedented shifts. You will be able to react more quickly to the changing market demands and improve your offering while most traditional companies fall behind.

With transparency and inspection already ingrained, you’ll be able to identify any issues with your workflows and optimize operations accordingly. Also, it is during these times your leadership and resilience shines brighter and empowers your people for the future.

Of course, disruptions are common in this arena, that’s why agile enterprises have in-house trainers and L&D teams to take care of your people's upskilling needs. As a result, your people will gain a skill or two while your businesses transform, mature and grow rapidly.

4. Saving Budgets by Eliminating Waste

Small businesses usually operate on very tight budgets in the early days. This is true in regards to the money that is available and work that can be done. Being a small team that you are, you should refrain from handling work that will eat your bones.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't think big. It means that you should do less and gain more. That’s where agile helps you strategize and prioritize work. With feedback loops and cross-functional teams in place, you will only do what is necessary and how much is necessary. That way you not only get to cut expenditures but also minimize the likelihood of committing to wasteful work.

5. Avoid Burnout and Inspire Passion

One of the major purposes of implementing agile is to establish a culture that fosters enthusiasm and excellence in a sustainable way. When you can do that successfully, your businesses will be able to accomplish much greater things.

Fortunately, agile provides a roadmap for your businesses to get there. Agile frameworks guide you on how to set sensible goals for your teams within defined time-frames, how to lead with empathy and inspire passion. So not only are your enterprises growing, you are also growing as a leader and entrepreneur.

At times, you may overwork your employees, but it should not become a habit. Burn-outs are cruel beasts and avoiding them should always be your priority. Also, these agile habits enable you to keep track of the workload and inspire passion among your employees.

Any company that wants to make it big ensures that their people have all the skills, resources and technology to get things. Agile brings in one more weapon to the suit— mindset. It is the mindset that wields all weapons and leads the warfare. To realize this dream of growing your business leaps and bounds, you must develop an agile mindset and a culture that supports. 

Wish you all the best for your entrepreneurial journey and a happy new year!