Quick question. When is the best time to plant a tree? Answer: Twenty years ago.
The next best time? Today.
This article is all about the things that you should start doing for your business. I’m sure there are plenty of things that you wish you could do to strengthen your company, but just don’t get around to them.
That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about taking advantage of what’s going on in the world right now to get an incredible leg up on every competitor and come out of this pandemic craziness eight hundred miles ahead of everyone else.
Let’s Begin With People
Your company needs staff to operate. After all, you can’t do all the work yourself.
For many companies, in late March and for most of April, they started closing down and sending staff home. By mid-summer, most companies are bringing staff back. But not everyone is making the cut.
Businesses left and right are discovering that they can operate with a leaner payroll than they ever thought possible. Even though top-line sales are down, bottom-line profit percentages on the work are up.
That’s a good thing.
What’s Around the Corner
Sooner or later the “Next Normal” is going to kick in, and we’ll all be at full-tilt bozo speed trying to keep up. Half or even three-quarter staff won’t be enough (hopefully).
One thing that is constantly happening all across industries is that companies, for whatever reason, are terminating employees. Some just aren’t great employees, but some are real gems that would make a fantastic addition to your team.
What you need to start thinking about is who can I bring on now that will make an incredible impact on the company as you emerge from the pandemic? There are folks right now that have had long and steady careers that have been forced out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or their employer simply went out of business.
Sales and marketing professionals, managers, directors, creative staff, production, and operations crew. These people want to work, and they want a great place to land. One that they can be proud to work for and feel like they should have been working there all along.
Is that your company?
Start thinking about your needs now. Where are you lacking?
Next Up, Changing Your Processes
Another item on your checklist should be to revamp the processes that simply aren’t working as well as they should. Back in Q1, you could live with it because you were busy, and didn’t need to change. You know you should have had this work handled as part of your continuous improvement planning, but it wasn’t much of a priority.
But now, it’s like the river has receded with the drought and exposed all the flaws in the system. The question isn’t what needs to change, it is probably what do you start on first?
Get your team together for some mental priority mapping. Start by discussing everything. Throw any and all ideas up on a whiteboard. Like any brainstorming session, there isn’t a wrong answer. List them all.
Then, look for similarities. Can you combine a few of the items listed? Also, a couple of the things on the board won’t be on the roadmap anytime soon due to financial, time, or skill reasons. Eliminate them, or jot them down to work on later.
What’s left will be a list of actionable items. With your group, pretend to give each person $35 to spend on voting on the action items for you to change. Their top pick gets $20. Number two pick gets $10. The third choice gets $5.
Reprioritize the changes you need to make as voted on by your staff based on the totals for each idea. Then, have the same crew start working on making things better based on the winning idea with a completion date associated with it.
Start Giving Your Customers Reasons to Market For You
Most advertising these days is incredibly lame and boring. There is a lot of noise, and to be really seen by a potential customer you need to break through somehow.
One tried and true method is getting your customers so incredibly excited about something that they start writing, filming, and sharing their thoughts about a product or service. They think something is so incredible they can’t wait to talk about it.
Are you giving your customers reasons to do that? When was the last time you surprised and delighted them? Do you even think that way?
What can you do to get people talking? You want to turn your customers into influencers.
Influencers provide trust and credibility to your audience. If you say something about your company, I’m probably not going to pay attention or listen. But when hordes of your customers all are recommending you?
New businesses like Guru Club are even springing up that offer this as a service.
Start Building Your Fans
Who on your customer list will remain loyal to you no matter what? Anyone? Do you have super fans of your work?
I’ve worked at companies where a good chunk of the growth happened when one account manager or salesperson would quit the first company and go get a job with another new one. The old company still did business with them, but they were able to convince the new company to use them.
Over time, those fans moved around in their career spreading the good word. If you have enough of those, you get a reputation for awesomeness within the industry.
This is called in a lot of circles as a “referral”. Here’s a tip: to be the recipient of a referral, you first need to be referable. This means that you consistently kick butt every time.
The reason why people don’t give referrals all the time is usually based on fear. They are afraid that something won’t live up to the expectations given. If you work hard to diminish that fear and make it easy to be referable, it just comes naturally and organically.
Oh, and you can ask for it too.
Feel free to refer someone to this blog or my consulting service by leaving a Google Review here. C’mon, I’d really appreciate it!
Thanks in advance.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson
“The healthiest competition occurs when average people win by putting in above-average effort.” – Colin Powell