This is the second in a series of 5 articles outlining the steps to consider when planning your business and life after the Coronavirus pandemic.
Unlock will be phased, starting with those businesses that cannot work from home. The rules of distancing will still apply, so for many manufacturing and open plan office businesses it means starting up with reduced numbers of the team present. I have just received a message from a local joinery business saying that they will re-open on this week, but they ask for understanding when placing an order because they can only operate at 66% of capacity. For those in the hospitality and large gatherings sector, the unlock date remains some way off in the future.
In the meantime, though, it is worth checking that you have covered off some of those things that will prepare you for the changed environment in which we will all operate.
First it is worth reviewing your Vision for the future – in my mind what you intend the business to look like in 1,3 and 5 + years. Within the context of your core values (the non-negotiable characteristics of the way your business operates and behaves), are you going to be able to rebuild or grow the business in the way you had planned in the past or will you need to review your product or service offering?
Product and service review:
Have some of your previous products or services effectively become obsolete? If so, what is it that you offer, or could offer, that the market still wants and how can you turn to new opportunities to fill the void? We have all heard of the remarkably swift way in which some businesses have used their expertise to shift their focus dramatically from, for example, heavy agricultural and construction machinery to manufacturing ventilators. Think big and think extreme, before applying common sense, realism (do not confuse with defeatism) and gut feel to see what might be possible.
There are two strands to this:
- Does what distinguished you from the competition in the past still apply (which should have been your core marketing message)? If not, what will be your new distinguishing feature, or basket of characteristics, that makes you and your offer unique?
- Secondly, does the way of marketing in the pre-covid environment still apply? There will unquestionably be changes to the way most target audiences receive information, either by route or volume, so you have to be ready to switch delivery system to ensure your target market continues to receive, or receives for the first time, your special, exceptional or even unique offer. Is your website and SEO, social media presence, google activity, YouTube video library, blog and vlog content as good as it needs to be?
Along with a change of route in your marketing may come a change in the nature of your collateral. Where once a brochure would suffice, the digital nature of most of your marketing activity demands a different set of materials. A call to action must be supported by excellent landing pages to enable the desired response. In just the same way the need for information, expertise and trustworthiness requires excellent content, e-books, whitepapers and testimonials, preferably by a customer talking to camera.
The received wisdom was that a prospective customer needed to have had at least 7 touches (a positive interaction between prospect and vendor) before developing sufficient trust to buy. In the digital environment that number has risen dramatically. Is it now 11 times, 15 or more? Who knows with certainty, but we can be sure of one thing – a steady flow of good content, regular contact, relevant information and a proven product or service is the basic requirement to develop the trust needed for a sale (never mind the Know and Like components).
You and your People.
Do you have the skills necessary to deliver on your new service or product in the new operating environment? A key part of going through the flow from Vision to Action is learning (Dreams>Goals>Learning>Plan>Action). What skills and techniques do you and your team need to operate at maximum effectiveness in the new business world we are living in? Can you teach them, or do you need an outside agency to assist? How do you even evaluate what’s needed?
Whilst locked down, online remains just about the only option. Even after lock-down, if the learning experience is as good by video link as face to face, why waste the time getting to a learning centre? Our experience of video conferencing has boomed in the last 8 weeks, both in our ability to adapt to the new learning environment and our ability to deliver meetings, webinars etc. Never has information been both so ubiquitous and so accessible. It is now universal and free, so we should make use of it. Note: knowing it is one thing. Implementing is quite another.
There are innumerable examples of coaching being the trigger to great success. From highly experienced businessman (Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google) to the highest echelons of sport (Tiger Woods and Jess Ennis-Hill to name but two), the understanding of the highest levels of performance (often under extremes of pressure) is critical to sustained excellence. If you don’t already have a coach, can you achieve your sustained best alone? There is so much to say on this that it must go into another article. Suffice to say that we often don’t know what we don’t know nor that what we do know is more than enough.
Self-Management through time:
How good has your self-management been during isolation? For some, it has been a release, enabling creativity and freedom of thought whilst for others it has been little short of solitary confinement. As unlock arrives we should learn all the lessons of isolation to maximize our effectiveness in the utilization of our time and personal resources, including health. Remember, time is finite but work is infinite. Only you can draw the boundaries of one to enhance the quality and utilization of the other.
To discuss anything I’ve said in any article, use the contact button below and we’ll arrange a call.CONTACT ME