“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” – Sir Winston Churchill
The COVID crisis will position every business for the "Next Normal". Will the position be positive, status quo, or negative? Visionary companies will use specific strategies to use any crisis to their advantage. According to research by global leaders like IBM, Deloitte, and McKinsey & Company, businesses that turn COVID into a (non-virus) positive will approach the future in these five ways:
A crisis is a magnifying glass. The people, products, processes, and relationships that are essential come into sharp focus. So do gaps in service and opportunities that may have been overlooked before. Businesses should enhance and elevate the “essentials” and find ways to:
It’s no secret that COVID has accelerated the use of digital or virtual channels and products. Companies positioned to advance will expand these opportunities, specifically after reviewing data on how and when they can increase efficiency and links to customers. This analysis, combined with anecdotal feedback will determine when to dial back on digital expediency and when to tune in to more authentic, in-person methods.
Finding a balance between virtual and in-person operations may be the biggest way to succeed in the long term. According to April 2021 business findings by McKinsey Management company, 60% of companies said that remote sales operations were 30% more effective than traditional face-to-face methods.
Companies that waste a crisis will slowly return to the status quo when it comes to operational pace and job descriptions. Businesses that refuse to return to life before COVID will:
McKinsey found that many leaders will check in more often with their teams to learn what is working and what is not. In a matter of hours, they will solve problems, pivot, and create new ways to deliver better service and more valuable products.
Many traditional processes and organizational charts are far from nimble. Even how companies match talent with tasks should shift to ensure a competitive advantage in the future. Deloitte, a global consulting group, shared that organizations are learning to connect the right employees to the toughest challenges, regardless of where they fall on the employee chart. According to both McKinsey and Deloitte research, successful leaders will:
5. With a Distinct Human Touch
If COVID taught us anything it is that we need thoughtful human connection. McKinsey and Deloitte share that progressive companies will use this lesson to focus on employees and customers. They will take the time to ask, consider, and review how employees perform best. In fact, 61 percent of CEOs in a 2021 Deloitte survey said they will re-imagine how employees work compared to just 29 percent the year before. People-centered companies will:
An IBM study showed that 80% of CEOs and 46% of employees shared that supporting the emotional and physical health of the workforce was important.
74% of leaders indicated to the IBM Institute for Business Value that they will invest in employees to help them learn the skills needed for the future of work.
To stay on the positive side of any crisis into the "Next Normal", it all comes down to perspective. Approaching the future in the five ways listed above will help any business turn any unforeseen circumstance into far-reaching and creative opportunities.
Need help planning for your future? Give Poole Communications a call. For less than 1 full time employee, we can handle all of your marketing needs. Let us be your Marketing Department and grow your business to the next level.
Start with your own. From cleaning up your office to working on your own life, it’s so tempting (and easy) to focus on other people’s messes and problems. The other person’s problem and solutions are so clear and obvious to us. Their mess lures us into a false sense of a simple answer and quick solution. We are so tempted to say, “Why if you’ll only do this, everything will be fine.” Solutions aren’t always as simple as they appear — especially in other people’s lives.
What is difficult and far more bold is to start with your own mess. Start making changes in your own character. Start improving your own attitude. Start that habit at work that you want everyone else to emulate. Start cleaning your own desk and taking control of your own life.
I’ve been working on paring down and simplifying at the office and at home. It feels really good to be organized and uncluttered. In the process, I’ve noticed my tendency to want to “help” others with their difficulties, their messes, and their problems. That silly desire sidetracks me from what I really need to be doing. That distraction stops me from working on my own problems. It prevents me from thinking about and solving my bad habits.
Please don’t think I’m saying don’t care for others or help others. That is not what I mean at all. I’m specifically talking about focusing on others when we seriously need to focus on ourselves.
Often when someone else’s behavior or mess bothers me, I look to myself as quickly as possible to see if I’m guilty of the exact same behavior.
Leave other people’s messes for them. Allow others the joy of solving their own problems. Focus on your own. It may just start a chain reaction of change at the office, at home and in your own heart.
By Sally Poole
In fourth grade we lived in Holly Park, which is part of the Seattle Housing Authority. We just called it “the projects.” Mom, a high school drop out, was recently divorced with four kids. We were really poor and didn’t mind at all - except we had to eat powdered milk on the commodity oatmeal we had for breakfast every morning. At Holly Park, we had tons of other kids to play with and learned all kinds of new things.
One of our neighbors and my best friend was Tonya. Tonya's mom would iron her hair in the morning to straighten it. My sister and I would beg her to iron our hair too. We liked it because it made our hair warm. She’d just laugh at us and iron our straight hair too.
Tonya’s brother, Mike was older than us and he was a complete mystery. He would bounce his basketball all the time and tell us frequently, “I’m gonna be a pro.” We had NO IDEA what on earth he was talking about. We tried to find out what a pro was. We even asked adults, but out of context, they had no idea what we were talking about either. You have to remember this was in the 1960’s. Professional sports had not yet become the big business it is today – well, not that we were aware of anyway.
Years later I realized Mike wanted to be a pro basketball player, make good money and have respect.
I started thinking that maybe we should encourage all of our young kids to become a pro. Professionals at something – anything! It would encourage them to work hard on their dream career, practice, maybe go to college or a trade school that they hadn’t considered before. To shoot a little higher (pardon the basketball pun) for a larger goal.
I had no idea what I would do with my life when I was in fourth grade, but I’m proud that I became a pro in my field. I hope Mike became a pro too. I wish all of our kids could grow up to be pros, earn the money they want and get the respect they’ve dreamed of.
Here is a quote from Jeffrey Gitomer:
In your business:
Video is the new brochure.
Video is the new testimonial letter.
Video is the new proposal.
Video is the new training manual.
Video is the new instructional manual.
Video is the new letter and email.
Mr. Gitomer is right. Cable television is coming on strong. Businesses are creating their own networks on YouTube. Websites that sell effectively are using video to increase viewership and cement sales. We’re becoming more sophisticated viewers and are expecting more. We want to be informed and not sold to in the traditional way.
Video is growing in our business. We used to mainly create 30-second commercials and now we are asked to put video on the web, in emails and create YouTube stations for clients that are using technology to the fullest. Even radio and newspapers are using video. Video is a critical part of your business when you need to show how something works or want to educate a customer.
Because of this schools are using video more frequently in the classroom and as an online learning source.
Right now most of the quality you see isn’t that great. As time goes by, you’ll see more need for better quality video production.
You might want to start thinking about how your business can use video to help your customers (not necessarily sell them). High definition video cameras have dropped dramatically in price. Folks are even producing decent video from their iPhones. Grab a camera and start producing. You might as well get started now so your video looks great – and you have a leg up on the competition.
“Design is the single most critical factor in determining the ultimate winner of the 21st Century.”
~ Kun-Hee Lee, CEO Samsung
Good design is what sets a business apart from the competition – whether it’s the organizational design, the work they do or the product they create for their customers. Design is a critical part of business success because it means someone is thinking things through and looking at the big picture.
STD. What do you think this stands for?
Yeah, me too. Sexually Transmitted Disease.
Well in some businesses it’s used for Sales Tool Development, Seize The Deal, Short Term Disability or Standard Testing Diagnostic. Hmm… would you have guessed that? Chances are slim that you would. Instead you’re probably still trying to not laugh out loud when that engineer keeps talking about that large piece of equipment’s accurate STD output.
Can we please just stop this? It confuses our customers. It stops communication dead in its track because people are trying to figure out what you mean without appearing stupid.
Take the time to spell it out and explain things clearly. Here’s why I think acronyms are stupid:
S – short sighted
T – too technical
U – ubiquitous (everywhere!)
P – passive
I – incomprehensible
D – disruptive
Take two minutes to write out (or say) what you’re talking about. It’s not going to take that much more time and it’ll save you headaches in the long run. And don’t blame texting! This has been going on long before texting was even invented.
So go seize the day, and skip the STD.
It’s time to take a close hard look at your voice mail system. If you don’t have one – don’t worry. I think you’re actually in better shape than most companies with a voicemail system! How many times have you tried to call a business and got stuck in Voicemail Purgatory? Last week I called a local station that I call frequently. I have a new sales rep and could not get to him. The phone system was overloaded with calls and asked me to type in his last name. I had no idea how to spell his last name. I needed something right away and this was aggravating – and I know their system! Think of how a new customer would have felt dealing with this same issue.
This week call your own office and listen carefully. I’m sure there’s something you can do to make your voice mail system work better. Your customers should be able to reach you quickly and easily. Don’t ask them to go to a menu or type in your last name or call another phone number. It’s dumb. It stops you from making a sale and is poor customer service. Rethink your voicemail system and seriously consider a warm live voice instead of a machine.
Sally just got done reading Manage Your Day-To-Day. The subtitle of this book is Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus and Sharpen Your Mind, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. Here's some of the best business take-aways from the book:
If you find you've been working hard and hardly getting ahead, this book is for you. It focuses on how our work day and work world has changed. Too often we're reacting and not working on our daily to-do list. The first thing to do is schedule your creative work first and schedule it at a time when you work best. This may take a little time to find - but instinctively you may know this already. Set routines and stick to them. If a project isn't complete one day, calendar it and move it to the next day. Your capacity is limited. Schedule your renewal or "sharpen the saw" time. Stick to it. Schedule thinking time or alone time to plan. Plan blocks of time to work - calendar it and stick to it. Stop multi-tasking - it doesn't work. Work on one project at a time, focus and finish it. Understand your temptations and resist them. In other words stay off Facebook and quit texting. Keep your workspace organized. Protect your DO NOTHING time. Your brain needs some R&R. Send really short emails. There is magic in a six-word email. Schedule your social media time and use it effectively to promote your business. Sally does hers at the same time she's updating client posts. Sometimes your soul needs to rest - take a long break from being connected. Finally, stop thinking everything must be perfect. We are human. Only God is perfect.
Get the work done, do your very best and let it go.
"The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say 'no' to almost everything." – Warren Buffet
1. Know Your Audience
- What time they check Facebook, what content they’re interested in.
- Target those specific people who ‘liked’ your page.
Knowing your audience will help your business tremendously down the road. It’s not enough to have a great product these days. You need to find those people who are your target audience and know what they want to see, their interests, likes and dislikes.
2. Engage with Your Audience
- Make posts specifically to your target group.
Once you’ve figured out their likes and dislikes, it’s time to put your knowledge to work.
Think about it - a follower is more likely to like or share a post if it is relevant to them or if they find it to be something they can stand behind.
3. Provide Great Customer Service
Once you have figured out your target market and how to get their attention, you need to keep it! Keep up on your social media; it shouldn’t be on autopilot for too long. Notice when someone comments on a post of yours or better yet, shares your post. Respond to your audience; people like to know that who they’re following is responsive and actually cares about them.
In short, nobody likes to be ignored. If people comment on your post or have questions, acknowledge them! It’s easy to become automated with managing your Facebook, but don’t forget that Customer Satisfaction still rules and will go further than any boosted post ever will.
You can schedule when your FB status is posted weeks and months in advance, specifically to better fit your customers' schedules. When you go to make a status update there is a drop down box next to the "Post" button that gives you an option to schedule your posting. Use this free trick to optimize your social media!
You can also use the “Boost” button, which places your posts higher in the News Feed, so there’s a better chance your audience will see them. Although there is a charge to boost, but you can choose your own budget. The more you put towards your budget, the higher your boost.
Stay focused and use Facebook's free platform to your advantage!