I recently came across an old copy of BRW Magazine (November 2012) which explores “What Australia’s fastest growing companies have in common”. The article frequently uses the word resilience. Resilient is to me what organisations become when they are good at managing risk. I kept reading and was interested to learn the four common traits BRW identifies about the companies:
1. They can spot a niche opportunity
2. They are resilient against factors they can’t change
3. They are happy to change, even to reinvent themselves, and
4. They are quick to take advantage of change around them
It is interesting that when I talk about resilient companies I am often talking about companies like General Electric or Microsoft that have huge balance sheets and a major presence in their markets. When I talk about the resilient quality of small businesses, on the other hand, I highlight their ability to move quickly – it is what allows them to survive and thrive.
Another difference between larger corporations and smaller businesses is risk appetite. Although it hurts small business owners a lot when they fail, the truth is, they were a taking a gamble in the first place. Managers of large organisations are not expected to gamble the whole business on one major play! Essentially that is what each small business is doing on start-up and it is only when they become larger companies that they derive their resilience from strength in addition to agility.