Staying relevant in challenging times...
Updated: Feb 16, 2021
There is no doubt that Covid-19 has dramatically changed our lives over the last couple of months and looks like it's going to have an impact for many more to come.
Whilst some have adapted quickly and been able to take advantage of adverse trading conditions, many of us need some help to work out HOW we need to adapt and run a business if we are to stay relevant and survive these challenging times.
To determine what's best for individual circumstances we suggest taking a step back from all the panic, hype and stress (easier said than done) to reassess some key and fundamental planning elements to make sure you head in the right direction.
First thing to consider is where we are currently in terms of energy, finances and desire to continue with our business. Once we are clear about these items we can make the first decision - do we continue or do we not?
Second thing to consider is what we want our future to look like, In the past you had some goals for lifestyle, income and activity that ended up as your business. Now we need to carefully consider the many changes our customers are making in how they connect with a business, how/what they purchase and how we can meet emerging requirements of both existing and future customers.
Next we have to look at our numbers - particularly in regards to what is essential spending versus what is discretionary. Now is the time to focus on how much needs to be generated to support essential spending, creating budgets to ensure future spending is properly managed and then work out how to generate this money. It may involve a review of pricing to ensure ongoing profitability and the probability of cutting discretionary costs provided they don't have a detrimental impact on the quality of your offering.
Once our revenue is determined we have to determine who the customers are that truly need our products or services - i.e. the people with the issues our product or service solves. Once our customers are clear and identified, we have to work out what they need to know about the solutions we offer and then determine how best to communicate with them via the channels THEY use. Sure, this will require some research, trial and error of messaging and potentially learning new tools. The alternative is to continue doing what you've always done, expecting a different result and missing out on the business that's still available for your products or services.
Lastly, we have an opportunity to evaluate our management systems and, for some of us, time to explore new ways of running our businesses. Some of the ways to consider include the use of technology, apps and tools designed to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.
In conclusion, it's important to remember that our customers have changed. They have more choice, have been forced to shop in new ways, have higher minimum expectations and are unlikely to return to the 'good old ways' of doing business.
We have, as always, a choice. A choice of staying as we were and becoming as extinct as the dinosaurs OR adapting to these changes and ensuring we stay relevant in these challenging times.