In today’s marketplace, it is often the swiftest competitor — not necessarily the smartest — that wins. Speed is increasingly of the essence, no matter what business you are in, so here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Respond to sales leads quickly. One small business requires staff members to follow up within the hour, by email, fax, or phone. 2. Get comfortable with rapid, strategic decision-making. Five-year planning horizons are out the window. 3. Compress your timetables. One Internet startup rolled out its expansion efforts in 45 days instead of the originally planned year, beating out competitors. 4. Make speed a part of your corporate culture. Reward employees’ swiftness with stock options, bonuses, or other perks.

Ken Yancey SCORE CEO Washington

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