This is the fourth in a series of 5 articles outlining the steps to consider when planning your business and life after the Coronavirus pandemic.
This is the stage immediately after Unlock, the point where some businesses have already arrived. It is the moment anticipated with fear and expectation in equal measure, depending on your industry and view of the immediate future. My belief is that there are some great opportunities to be taken by dynamic, alert and well briefed business owners and managers, so here are a few ideas to consider in preparing for your emergence into the much-altered business world.
Lead from the front:
It is undoubtedly true that people look for leadership in times of crisis and for ways of resolving difficult and contentious situations. As a keen observer and developer of leaders in business, this is my view of what great leaders do and communicate to their team:
- They have and communicate an inspiring Vision for the future.
- They hold a set of Values and develop a Culture against which all activities and people are judged. This includes catching people doing a great job and thanking them for it.
- They are clear minded Strategists, knowing where the future of the business lies.
- They build a Structure of people around them that can deliver every component of a successful business.
- They set high Standards and demand the same of everyone they encounter.
- They encourage and develop Leaders, at every level, to take the initiative and responsibility.
- They know enough about the workings of the business to know what KPI’s are relevant and essential to their level of decision making.
So if there’s a hole in your leadership skill set, now is the time to mend it and then go out and Lead from the front.
I once asked a friend who was CEO of an international business employing > 40,000 people what had propelled him to the top. His answer was brief but offers penetrating insight: “What I’m really good at is identifying people who are much better at their job than I am and then putting them together in teams”. This could be the moment to strike when looking for excellent people to recruit. A client in the engineering business recently advertised digitally for a new Ops Manager and received 165 applications. Be clear on your values as the basis for recruitment – we can train almost everything else, but it’s nigh on impossible to retrain an incompatible value set.
Focus on existing Clients / Customers:
I was once asked what my business would look like if I’d never lost a client. It is clear that it would have been much bigger and more profitable having more clients and no client recruitment costs. Of the only four ways to grow your business (more Leads, better Conversion rate, increased Transaction Frequency and greater Sale Value per transaction) retaining clients and having them transact with you more frequently is the cheapest and the easiest. Communicate with your existing customer list, ensuring they know and understand your full product range, be it new or existing and focus on their needs, empathize with their situation, provide exactly what they want and follow up.
Did the marketing you used in the past produce the volume of customers you wanted and could cope with? Was it possible to turn the marketing tap on and off, depending on your ability to deliver? If it did now’s the time to test it in the new market situation. If it works stick with it but if not, you’ll have to shift the emphasis to a new, more digital environment, as described in my previous article.
Test and Measure:
The only way you will know what is and is not working is by testing and thoroughly measuring the results. It can be difficult to know precisely which strategy or which part of a strategy has generated the result, so you must be imaginative in working out a measuring system that tells you. For example, Google Analytics and Facebook A-B testing can be revelatory. And the measurement that matters is the Gross Margin gain v. the Advertising Cost.
You and your People.
Energy and Effort:
You will know some people with exceptional energy; they are themselves energizing, which is what you want to be for your team. Focus on the things that give you energy and delegate those that drain you. That way, in a time of real demand, you will remain inspirationally energized. Do not forget the basics of good health. Plenty of exercise, good food and good sleep will, unsurprisingly, give you a real buzz.
Clarity and Focus:
You get what you focus upon – so focus upon the things that really matter (and don’t even think about the things over which you have no influence or control). What are the things that only you can do and what are the things that generate the highest return or profit? For each person in the business, make sure they know what their focal point is and be sure it comprises their personal KPI for which they are accountable.
You cannot out-earn your learning. It is the critical interim step between setting goals and making a plan, because you have to know what you’re doing to be able to make a meaningful plan. If you want to build a property portfolio, wouldn’t it be a good idea to read half a dozen books on property? It’s the same argument, with a variable amount of learning depending on the significance of what you intend to do. If you’re planning on putting people in new seats, they’d better have time to learn really well how to do the job.
If you grip a nettle firmly before pulling it out of the ground, you won’t get stung. If you delicately brush your hand over it, you will. Commit to the task, give it all the resources it needs, and you have a good chance of success. As Henry Ford is reported to have said “If you think you’ll succeed or you think you’ll fail, you’re almost certainly right”. If you genuinely don’t believe you can make something work, either don’t do it or find someone who can. Otherwise, you’d be far better working on something that you know will progress your business’s success. If you believe, commit 100%.
Ownership is one of three essential elements of your personal and business success. Those three are Ownership, Accountability and Responsibility. We are where we are because of all the decisions we have made and all the actions we have taken in our lives. The successful person believes that their circumstances are no-one else’s doing. We must Own the challenges and opportunities, be Accountable for the results we achieve and take Responsibility for our own lives and businesses.
To discuss anything I’ve said in any of these articles, use the contact button below and we’ll arrange a call.CONTACT ME