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4 Ways To Ensure Your Business Is Agile and Innovative Every entrepreneur should be able to tell the difference between hype and reality when it comes to business investment.

By Nicholas Bell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


There is one fact that almost every entrepreneur knows, especially those entering the marketplace today – disruption is everywhere. Business models are changing, employee needs are changing, and customer demands and expectations are changing.

All these shifting benchmarks are driven by innovation, invention and completely lateral ways of thinking. The only constant today is that nothing stays the same.

So, within this morass of change, uncertainty and mercurial markets, how is the entrepreneur supposed to tell the difference between an infrastructure investment that's sorely needed to ensure agility and one that is solely hype? The answer lies in asking more questions…

1. Assess your business

This is when having a clearly defined business plan is absolutely essential. In a world of constant change it is critical to have a plan but to also have the ability to assess its relevance against the market of the day.

Related: Video: Staying Relevant As A Business Owner And Brand

Few businesses can forecast out 5 years in advance with great accuracy, however having end objectives is critical and an openness to adapt helps you plan for the future.

2. You have to keep up with the Jones'

Other companies in your sector are facing similar challenges to what you are but what are they doing about it? Have they invested in new employees, new markets and new solutions? Or are they waiting and watching to see what everyone else will do?

It may sound clichéd, but being left behind can often mean the end of your business. The road behind is littered with the remains of those who didn't pay attention to what their competitors were doing.

3. Look for relevance

Don't rush out and fundamentally change your business. The real art is in being able to spot what is relevant – what matters and what doesn't.

Related: The Importance of Estate Planning When Building Your Business

Answer questions around – can the business be more efficient, can it execute more effectively, are the customers happy with how things are managed or is there potential for better service delivery?

Customer experience should ultimately be the biggest driver of this conversation.

4. Timing matters

The world's ability to consume goods and services is moving at a fast pace and you have to be ready for change. Do you want your business to be first or second? Do you want someone else to pay the school fees and educate the market or are they going to live off your work?

Your timing may not always be right, but by listening to the market and the customer, you can fine tune this ability until you're the one who benefits.

Related: How To Build A Business Where Everyone Is Entrepreneurial

Nicholas Bell

CEO of Decision Inc.

As CEO of Decision Inc. I am responsible for building a global Data, Digital and Performance Analytics company. With 270 staff across Australia and South Africa we help over 500 clients around the world to Unleash the Potential in their business by bringing strategy, technology and knowledge together.

Our focus is on local excellence and global scale which allows Decision Inc. to provide its clients with best of breed technology solutions whilst leveraging global research and innovation teams to accelerate the time to insight. 

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