In mid-January I ran into an old friend, a master marketing person.  We chatted for a bit and then I went out on a limb and asked him a simple question, “I want to dramatically grow my business.  Will you share your success with me?” 

Over a 3 hour lunch, he gave me lots of food for fodder.  I listened, took detailed notes and intently focused on taking in his wisdom.  Back at the office, I called a meeting with Grace and Andy, and the magic began to happen.  I shared with them one of the great ideas I received from my friend.  They saw the risk and the potential reward, and we all decided to go for it.  Dividing up responsibilities for the change, we all went to work. 

The idea was our new seminar format and the results were nothing less than spectacular. Seeds of Wealth, our biggest and oldest yearly financial planning event, was completely transformed in just 6 short weeks.  We were nimble.  We kept the event on track and made the changes all at the same time.

The results were phenomenal.  We had a record crowd and for the first time ever we had a waiting list we could not accommodate.  We got great feedback that the material was fun, interesting and really gave clear insight into our services.  Success!

Being nimble is one of the most important skills of any entrepreneur.  Change is happening at an ever increasing pace.  As a business owner, you either respond quickly or you may find that change eliminates your marketplace, and devalues your largest asset, your business.

Nothing can derail the personal financial plan of an entrepreneur faster than the loss of the value in his or her business.  And nothing can grow your wealth faster than growing your business. 

So how do you become nimble?

  1. Be creative yourself. Build a culture of creativity and innovation.  Innovation doesn’t just include a new product like an iPad, it includes things like how you serve customers, what value you bring to your marketplace and the processes you use to deliver your product or service.   If you already have a culture of creativity, you are inherently more nimble.
  2. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and your talents.  You can probably list your strengths and weaknesses pretty easily, but what about your talents?  What is the essence of skills residing in your business?  What other ways may these skills be employed in the marketplace.  Nimbleness implies that we know who we are at a core level.
  3. Stay financially strong.  Cash in the bank gives you options your competitors do not have.  Your business is the goose that lays the golden egg.   No goose, no eggs.   Keeping your goose well fed, safe, and secure is critical.  In your business that means cash on hand, access to credit and a liquid balance sheet.   Cash creates the opportunity to be nimble and move on a moment’s notice.
  4. Understand your propensity to procrastinate.  As the economy improves, and we move from crisis to a more normal marketplace it makes it really easy to avoid those hard decisions like, laying off a long term employee that doesn’t fit any more, or avoiding selling the dying part of your business.   If you are  a procrastinator by habit, ask someone you trust to hold you accountable to your results.  Procrastination is a killer for creatively and nimbleness.  
  5. Think young and grow young.  What new thing are you learning? How are you expanding your own thinking?  How often do you read views in opposition to your own just for the practice of understanding and expanding yourself.  The young are curious and have their minds open for new learning.  They are nimble naturally as their ways aren’t cast in stone.
  6. Watch your numbers carefully.  Way beyond a brief glance at your monthly profit and loss, you need trending data weekly, and monthly that gives you a picture of the direction of your business.  To be effectively nimble means you know WHEN to move.