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Why Agility Is Key To Business Success

Jason Saltzman, founder/CEO of Alley, startup investor/advisor, mentor for Techstars

· Agility,FBF19

Focus on the process, not the end result.

Just because you started out with a vision doesn't mean that's what you're going to end up with. Agility means being prepared to change directions if things aren't working out. Some of the most successful businesses in the world started out as something completely different. The entrepreneurs that built these businesses shifted, pivoted and made a space for themselves where their vision worked. If you look at your business as an experiment, then you never fail. You're just working on the right formula.

Pay attention to the market and be ready to give it what it wants.

One of the biggest factors that will change the direction of a business idea is market feedback. When my business partner and I launched our software without ever getting a feel for what the market wanted, we ignored the only true validator of any great idea. Even if you've got investors throwing cash at you, all that means is that you've developed a convincing sales pitch. But if people don't want to buy your product or service — no matter how many indicators of greatness you had — you need to let it go or pivot and take it back to the drawing board. Remember, my marketing agency was bringing in huge revenue until the mortgage industry crashed. Take time to diversify instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket.

Listen to feedback and let your community guide you.

I've started to integrate feedback and data into my business by operating skunk-works style with our community. We've set up a big lab where we launch ideas, get feedback from the community and build things that people want. This has been invaluable. But if you aren't nimble enough to execute on the feedback consumers give or the ideas that your community generates, then it's pointless.

The reality is that in business, things change, things break and things fall apart. When that happens, you need to be able to pick yourself up every time and say, "That was a great learning experience. What's next?" That agility will clear the path for successful ideas not yet on the horizon.

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