Today I recorded my raw thoughts on the current situation (we all have them) and how to make the most out of it. How to do things better next time, that’s the question. I think we need this kind of discussion at any level, not only from the government, business or startup perspective but also within smaller or bigger teams. I hope you don’t mind a solo episode as I haven’t done one in a while. Today I’d like to talk about whether we should all think about if we need to recalibrate our business goals. Enjoy todays episode and make sure to subscribe and leave a comment.
Before I start I’d like to say that we all should look at the pandemic from a bit broader perspective. The impact it has on the society and the global economy is enormous, but the truth is that we have no option other than switching into offence mode. What this means for businesses, startups and managers? We need to work more, and we need to work smarter. Our money has to work better as well…
Why it’s a good time to recalibrate any business matters and goals?
Well, again – what else is there for us to do? Of course we have more fires to fight but our clients and partners have the same problems as well. Also we fight fires all the time so apart from the magnitude our job hasn’t changed that much…
Let’s look at it from this perspective. We all look for a competitive advantage. I think I may be able to give you one for free so listen carefully.
When everything gets back to normal almost all of us will start with a blank canvas and we should take this opportunity to implement long awaited changes. People will reference to anything as to the post-virus world. Customers as well.
We need good changes and obviously you’ve done your homework so you are prepared to recalibrate the business goals… I don’t know your business but I know that whoever is going to act quick may be able to take a big leap ahead of the competition.
My intention with this episode is to give you some hints and not real answers or advices. I don’t have the audacity to tell you what you should do as I don’t know you. But sometimes we need just a spark to ignite an idea that’s going to be good for us. At least this is how I roll.
Let’s start from the long term goals.
Talk to your partners, investors, main stakeholders and team colleagues to discuss the situation. Maybe it’s time to shut down ideas that were interesting before the crisis but now make absolutely no sense? Or maybe one of the ideas could be a real game changer in the light of current events when things calm down a bit? From my perspective (and that’s running an online service business) things didn’t change that much just yet and our long term strategy got reinforced to be honest as we have more and more clients requests. Having said that we already think of ways to stay ahead of the competition after the crisis. This is what I call long term planning.
Strategic decisions at the top level of the controlled entity are important but what about real offence and the actions that we can make today and tomorrow? What about sales, marketing, R&D, HR or finances?
Short term goals to recalibrate your business.
People are the most important asset. We all know that, but today more than ever it’s crucial to work on a parallel and a very closely related topic which is… the roles that we play in our organisations. I’m pretty much sure that many SME’s struggle with defining roles properly which may lead to employees not doing what they should be doing from time to time. This also implies the fact that procedures and KPI’s are probably not very well described. You may say that some teams or roles may have problems with processes because they’re for example in sales or the creative sector. What’s wrong with the following statement: KPI no 1. 25 pictures, one video and one blog post per day? Try to think whether the roles within the organisation are properly described and whether the communication between the teams is managed well. Maybe you should have moved one person from team A to B long time ago? Or maybe your team lacks a member with specific traits? Or you should rethink the whole team structure whether the job could be done better with less efforts?
Review the overheads. I don’t mean to look at it just from the employment perspective but also to take a look at all the leasing contracts, software subscriptions, rented office etc. There should be some space for improvements here. Maybe it’s a good idea to look for less expensive alternatives and book in calls with new partners? And maybe there’s no need for a fancy, new BMW in the fleet to commute for business meetings now? I’m not a finance person but I can do basic math… I’m sure there’s something in your books to get optimised…
Remodel current contracts. For example, If I was an employee of a company that has to reduce the number of staff and I’d get a letter with such decision and I really like the company, I’d consider asking to temporarily reduce the hours, change the salary or even work for free to show the commitment and help the company. Companies in general won’t hire as much now so it’s probably the best thing to do… The same principles apply to B2B contracts. Renegotiate. There’s nothing bad in reaching out to your best partners or suppliers to maintain and nourish the relationship. If someone won’t agree to the proposed contract change, try to understand why. That’s important because maybe you shouldn’t be doing business with people who are not willing to help you in the difficult times?
Move marketing budget. Triple down on the handful of media that brings you the most value. And I say this knowing that a lot of companies and executives have no clue what’s their ROI for marketing budgets. So maybe it’s a good time to discuss this topic as you need to be able to measure certain KPI’s so you know at least which channels bring no value to your organisation. Or at least ask the media people what do they think and ask them to justify the costs or move budgets across to best performing platforms.
Rethink the sales strategy. Reach out to old clients, see what they’re up to. Tell the sales team to take an extra online training. Explore LinkedIn. Try to think of new ways and methods to find customers. Prepare strategies for next year’s events and trade shows. Review obsolete sales and training materials. Browse properly through the competition and competitive offerings. There’s plenty to do, the trouble is that sales people often have no freedom to take action.
Support your customers. When was the last time you reached out to your clients after the purchase without the intent to sell again? Maybe it would be a good opportunity to do a proper survey now? One of my friends said once that life would be much better without customers, and to some extent he’s right… but the truth is that the customer pays our bills, and we need to listen. Or at least negotiate.
So what’s next?
Obviously I didn’t touch on many topics like for example production, research and development or corporate acquisitions but I think you get the point. I talk about things that I’m reasonably good at and seen them working in practice. The truth is that there’s always something that needs improving. We need to plan, execute and control at all times regardless of the epidemic. If we got caught off guard now, isn’t it the best and immediate opportunity to recalibrate our business goals? This applies to everyone, not only the top executives.
More interesting “raw thoughts” available here: Dan’s episodes