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Too often professionals assume that entrepreneurship requires a rigid approach. In reality, flexibility is the key requirement to starting your own business. It benefits you, your employees and your company to ensure long-term success. You need to be able to evolve based on changing trends and before you assume that your industry isn’t impacted by changing trends, keep in mind that just because it doesn’t happen frequently, every industry can change at the flip of the dime.

I’m not saying don’t plan. Planning and building a robust infrastructure is essential, but be sure to create some space for you to adjust to the unpredictability of life in general. Just because you set a miss a goal, it doesn’t mean you still can’t achieve it.

Consumer needs change

Businesses focus on the consumer since consumerism is often times what keeps your company afloat. As a result, you need to be prepared to adapt based on what they want and how they want it. As Jim Joseph says, “The business world is constantly changing, with your customers’ needs driving most of those changes. How you define your business needs to be flexible enough to change right along with your customers, evolving to keep up to speed with them.” Consider the changes in brick and mortar retail. Now, more times than not, consumers’ prefer to shop online, so retail chains shifted into the digital age in order to maintain their consumer base.

Adaptability benefits companies and employees

People now put a greater emphasis on the importance of a work-life balance. Flexibility helps employees physically and emotionally. When they are in the office, they’re proven to be more focused and on point. Flexibility also doesn’t necessarily mean fewer hours either. It can come in all shapes and sizes. Sara Sutton Fell from Forbes says, “As you consider what flexible working could mean for your company, remember that occasional telecommuting, semi-flexible work hours, and alternative schedules are all options that can be molded to fit both the company’s and the employees’ needs.” Often times, it simply refers to creating an open line of communication with your employees. If there’s a problem – you want to know about it, and you want happy coworkers too. By acknowledging their concerns and adjusting based on their needs, you see improved employee retention rates and build a stronger company culture.  

Long-term plans don’t determine long-term success

Yes, planning is important. Don’t just dive into entrepreneurship empty-handed. Too often though, young entrepreneurs assume that because they built a thorough business plan (which is great), they can’t stray from it. Be prepared to deviate a little. Don’t assume that just because your projected timeline reflects your actual timeline perfectly, you are set for long-term success. The goals that made sense four years earlier when you originally created your plan are probably outdated by the time you reach them, and that’s perfectly okay. Things change and as a business professional you just adapt.