The modern business environment is highly demanding and constantly fluctuating. To remain competitive and relevant, you need to be adaptive. You need to be agile.
In this article, I want to share some of my own experiences as the CFO of Parimatch Holding, highlighting the importance of agility.
The Seven Steps to Being Agile
I have been involved with many sectors, from metal trading to hospitality and banking. I learned to be adaptative, and that helped me when I eventually joined Parimatch. When I began my career here, we had just a handful of employees. Today, we have over 2,000 and work out of 10 offices worldwide.
The rapid growth that we experienced helped me and my colleagues to become agile. This, in turn, helped us during the lockdown, when we were forced to act quickly to keep the business profitable.
Being able to react in such a manner is one of the most important assets you can have in business, and you can gain those skills following a simple 7 step process.
For this process, we’re going to imagine that a hypothetical business is planning to enter a lucrative market in an imaginary country we’ll call “Wowwow”.
Step 0: Stress Test the System
The initial risk analysis is essential. It’s also a step that you probably know already, which is why I’m including it as step 0 and not step 1.
In the example of Wowwow, the points of a risk analysis might look something like this:
- Compliance – What are the licensing issues, what do the regulators require? Prepare your company and policies to meet the requirements of Wowwow.
- Treasure and Liquidity – What’s your cash flow and expectations and how will the currency and exchange rates of Wowwow affect you?
- Processes – How will you communicate with customers and clients? How will the local language, time zone, and available applications change your approach?
Step 1: Build and Update Processes
Once you have analysed and checked the necessary requirements, it’s time to lay the foundations and start integrating processes.
For example, you might need a new license to operate in Wowwow. You may also need to think about payment processes, building a website, finding partners, and establishing your marketing team.
Step 2: Become a Junior Team Member
Put yourself in the shoes of the most junior team member. Experience your company and the new market from their perspective, and try to understand what’s going wrong, what’s going right, and what can be improved.
Step 3: Find a Solution as a Group
Once you understand the problems highlighted in Step 2, it’s time to address them as a group and find a solution.
Don’t play the blame game. It’s not just about finding out who’s doing wrong and then chastising them. It’s about looking at the right solutions and dealing with the problems in a fast and efficient way.
If the problem is that lots of customers are visiting the site but only a small number are joining, you might point the finger of blame at the technology or marketing team. But maybe the residents of Wowwow prefer to use a specific web wallet or another payment service that you don’t offer. If you spend all of your time blaming the marketing team or looking for faults in the software, you’ll overlook the real issue.
Step 4: Range the Problems
Some problems will be easy to solve, others will take a lot of effort. They need to be dealt with accordingly and you can’t devote the same resources to each project. Analyze, check, and determine how much time and effort each of the problems require.
Step 5: Select an Instrument
How are you going to deal with the issues that you have identified? That’s the next step of the process.
If you have an issue with compliance, your solution might be to merge teams and resources to deal with it quickly. If the issue is that residents of Wowwow don’t like using the payment methods you have available, the instrument comes in the shape of a new merchant partner, one that will offer those Wowwowians exactly what they need.
Step 6: Implement the Changes
The next step of the process is to implement the changes that you have identified and incorporate them in a way that pushes your business forward.
People don’t like changes, so this is often the hardest part of the process, but it’s also one of the most important, and if you have done the previous steps correctly, you’ll be ready for a seamless transition.
After all, if you have completed the earlier steps, your team has already been making changes, acquiring new software/contracts, and moving forward. They are primed for the final step.
Step 7: Check It
Once you make it this far, you’ve done all of the hard work and should start reaping the benefits. However, problems can still arise, and work still needs to be done. After a few months, check the changes that you made and ensure they are still working as they should.