Considering we’ve entered one of the most tumultuous times in recent business history, I think it’s worthwhile discussing some strategies to implement in your business when times are tough, and revenue is drying up. Let me begin with a message of honesty and transparency: we’re dealing with the exact same thing, right now, and I’d be lying to you if I said it hasn’t stressed me out in the past few weeks. Lucky for you, however, is that you’ll get to benefit from some of the lessons I’ve learned over my career, and what we’ve begun implementing in our operations at the Best Practice Group, and this is one of my most important takeaways:
Pick up the phone
Now, you’re probably thinking that I’m telling my employees to pick up the phone and chase up all the possible sales opportunities out there. I’d be lying to you if this weren’t part of the strategy, but overall, this is the time to pick up the phone for a completely different purpose- one that will gain you trust in the marketplace and increase your organisation’s integrity, and maybe even its future direction.
I’m imploring my staff members to call up other organisations to find out exactly what they’re struggling with so we can be part of the solution- not another part of the problem.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, or videos on our Youtube channel, you’d know that i’m a firm believer in the power of having a vision and a mission statement that inspires both your customers and your employees. At Best Practice, ours is to inspire improvements in as many organisations as possible, so at a time like this when times are tough, we’re not just chasing up invoices- we’re seeing exactly what is causing other organisations pain, and brainstorming how we can help out with that process. It’s an important time to remember that although things are tough, the fog of uncertainty currently over the world of business will dissipate, and I plan on positioning myself and my business as a helping hand that will gain customers through trust and offering assistance through these time times.
Now, more than perhaps ever in your organisation’s history is the time to pick up the phone and see how your customers and suppliers are doing. This knowledge should become the bedrock of your business strategy as you navigate through tough conditions, shaping your operations in-line with changing customer demands and perhaps limited capabilities of your suppliers. Your organisation’s future direction is going to be very much shaped by where your customers are struggling, so if you invest some time into researching exactly what their pain-points are and where there is friction, you can inform them of transformative improvements they can make, and build up a solid working relationship.
Chris Nicols, Shoma Hayden and Chris Trendler of ghSMART wrote in a recent Harvard Business Review article that certain leadership behaviours can help to navigate an organisation through particularly testing times, and outlined specifically that it’s essential to connect with your customers. “To strengthen relationships and build trust, keep the focus off yourself and explore how you can truly help your customers,” they say. “For example, by proposing payment schedules to ease their liquidity crunch or offering pro bono or in-kind provisions of services,” illustrating just how powerful making these connections can be in testing times.
Think of it as future-proofing your vital relationships, and positioning your organisation as a source of information and goodwill. The results will pay dividends when the cloud of uncertainty leaves the business world and revenue streams pick back up.
Thanks for your time,
Kobi Simmat- Director & CEO of the Best Practice Group.