5 Ways to Stay Agile and Embrace Change as a Small Business Owner

By MBO Partners | May 28, 2024

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Key Points

In order to survive in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, independent contractors must stay agile.

Adapt to changes by keeping your skills updated and diversifying your client base.

Build your professional network for guidance and support, and be willing to adapt your services to fit market needs.

Staying agile is key to survival as an independent contractor in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. Embracing change can help you build a successful business when everything around you—client needs, trends, market demands, etc.—is changing. Here are five ways you can keep your business agile in the face of uncertainty.

1. Continuously Develop Skills

Professional development is incredibly important when you run your own business. Continuously improving your skills can give you an advantage over your peers and help you stay agile. There are many routes you can take when it comes to skills development, including: taking professional development courses, attending online educational webinars, going to professional events, networking online, pursuing a certification program, reading industry case studies and more. You can also focus on improving specific skills.

For example, if you want to enhance your problem-solving abilities, invest time in learning techniques like root-cause analysis, creative brainstorming, and critical thinking so you will be able to approach problems from different angles and find innovative solutions.

10 Valuable Skills Consultants Need to Succeed

2. Diversify Your Client Base

Relying too heavily on a single client or narrow market segment can leave your business vulnerable to fluctuations in demand and economic downturns. Consider ways you might diversify your client base to mitigate that risk and open opportunities for growth. Look for clients who are similar to your existing target audience who might work in a different industry or be based in a new geographic location. You might also think about expanding your current offerings to attract new clients who have slightly different needs. Or try partnering with another independent to leverage each other’s network and take on a larger, more diverse project.

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3. Adapt Services to Fit Market Needs

Changing or adapting your services can be a difficult step to take, especially if you are used to running things a certain way. But remaining open to experimentation and innovation can be helpful when market changes might not be moving in the same direction as your business. to stay agile, small business owners must be willing to make decisions quickly and decisively. Be open to feedback and be willing to iterate until you find a new path that works. Diversifying your business can be a scary leap to take, but ultimately it can help you reduce risk and stay profitable.

5 Ways to Diversify Your Small Business

4. Cultivate a Strong Professional Network

As a small business, you can benefit greatly from cultivating a strong network of support. Check in with where you stand right now—what sort of mentors, advisors, or fellow entrepreneurs do you have in your life who can offer you guidance and support? These types of contacts will be essential when your business goes through any sort of change or evolution. If you are falling short on these relationships, seek out new contacts in your professional world by attending industry events, workshops, or local networking opportunities. When you find someone you connect with or admire, put in the time and effort to build a relationship with them.

How to Network with Peers When You’re Self Employed

5. Embrace Technology and Automation

As an independent contractor, you’re likely aware of the power of technology for a small business. Investing in tools and software can help you streamline day-to-day processes and boost your efficiency. Stay updated on emerging technologies within your industry and consider ways to incorporate them into your business. For example, leverage digital marketing channels to better engage with your target audience, consider adopting cloud-based solutions for greater scalability of your business, or think about the various ways Generative AI might change how you work.

5 Ways to Use Generative AI for Your Small Business

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