Posted on – 14 May, 2020
Everyone today is talking about pivoting, adapting, adjusting, aligning but what does it mean? What does it mean for individuals, for entrepreneurs, for small businesses, or even for large enterprises?
We have to realize that the interpretation or manifestation of this for each of the above is specific to them and very different. However, when we take a step back to identify objectives or solutions, we can look to 3-4 prime directives. Yes we are strong Star Trek Fans! But that is a different blog all together.
Let’s start with the first one which is digitization. In today’s world being online, is no longer optional. In our current norm, where restaurants offer only takeout or a yoga class is no longer a studio class or even preschool or kindergarten education is no longer in physical classrooms, even the most high touch activities, in person or requiring physical connection are now transitioning online. If you are not on-board that bus, you better get on-board now. Despite the uncertainties of what the future norm looks like, assume even 100% of in person or 100% brick and mortar businesses will have a consumer base that will be virtual. To stay ahead of your competitors, start to build your online presence. Recommended platforms are Instagram, FB or LinkedIn or WebSites and Google etc. Find your online conduit and build your presence and community, even if you chose only one of these.
Next directives, we recommend are automation and integration. With this major transition of consumers to online, they not have the global information at their fingertips. If they were not aware of all their choices earlier, they have now been enabled! With enablement, awareness is not far behind. Also if your competitors were not aggressive earlier, they certainly are now. Yes you can still build communities but recognize that “personalized service” is not the same as “in person” service. This economy demands operational optimization. It demands efficient use of your limited resources. The questions to ask yourself are how do your reduce and minimize your overheads? What can you do to automate or integrate to reduce costs? What can you automate or integration to provide faster response to the market or to your customers? What can you automate or integrate to provide 24/7 service or product in view of securing additional revenue?
You need dashboard, analytics and frameworks to deploy, monitor and evolve. This could be for customer behavior and data, for your operational optimization or even just for your product and services. A simple example is even if I offered a free class promotion why did I not get the attendance, of the 25 people that showed up for the class, who are my most likely future customers. How do I look at this data or similar data to learn from last campaign and get yield in my next campaign? In this market, one definitely needs the capability to deploy, track and evolve to survive. Understanding your analytics, leveraging it to make key decisions and to implement continuous improvement is the differentiator between you being successful or not.
Last but not the least is having your operational go-tos identified. This is no longer the world where everyone will be able to afford the non-critical functions in-house be it IT, HR, Marketing etc. With the economic hit comes massive downsizing, companies will need to scale down, to look to an ecosystem externally to fully operate the business. If I need a technical question answered, who do I go to? If I have an HR question, who is my speed dial contact, if I need a marketing campaign run, who is my service provider? In these times, not only will one need to know who to go, but also those external partnerships will need to mirror in-house operational models. Your relationship with these service providers has to be one of where fast response is a result of established standards and processes. These external relationships have to be built to deliver “in-house like outcomes”. Be joined at the hip for best results. The outcomes or fast responses needed will come should you build standards, established processes and most of all trust. Trust to understand what is needed, trust to deliver and provide appropriate support.
I hear people say, well shortly this will go away! Life will eventually go back to normal whether in 4 months or 6 months or a year. All I can say I wonder what the new norm will be from today where a 3 year has a virtual zoom play date today or my 80 years old parents have learnt to exercise using virtual platforms at home. How does one return to the old norm from such a major change?
Start planning for your virtual offering and presence now!
Start evaluating where you can automate for cost savings or increased revenue.
Start building your online communities.
But most of all, stay safe, healthy and engaged!v