Been dealt a duff hand and not sure whether to stick or twist?
If you find your business is in a situation (outwith your control) which has disadvantaged and potentially has a negative impact on you, then there's never been a better time to be proactive. Step back, analyse, review and then develop a plan or clear strategy for the next 2-3 years.
They say, "the one constant is change" and we have certainly seen plenty of change over the last 12 -18 months. Two elections in the UK, change of Prime Minister, 2 attempts to Brexit and now the re-termed Eu-Exit looms large as we head towards the end of 2020. Plus, we are all trying to recover and establish a sense of normality through a worldwide pandemic. Covid19 and the consequences it's dealt have impacted everybody's lives, businesses and even just the ability to socialise and meet up with family, friends and colleagues.
I know we're all busy and can always find plenty to do, however if you wish to make one change that will make a positive difference to your situation, it's about taking the time to be proactive and spending time working "on" you and on your business.
So, where should you start? What key points and areas of the business should you consider?
1. At what stage is your business today?
- Is it a new start?
- In the growth phase?
- Well established?
- or mature?
2. How developed is the current market you operate in? Is there scope for the overall market to grow or is it a matter of taking a bigger piece of the pie from your competitors each year?
3. What's been the impact of Covid 19 on your industry, nationally, regionally and locally?
4. More importantly what do you see as the key market and industry challenges and opportunities going forward? Look at 2-3 different scenarios and timelines. i.e. quick return to normal or do we have to adapt and live with the virus for a year or even longer.
5. What about your customers today and in the past, what's been the impact on them? Are their current needs, demands likely to increase, diminish and will you require a change in approach? Key tip, don't assume, find out from the horse's mouth. A great reason to start a conversation with your clients.
6. From what you can learn, have you got the current capabilities to adapt your business to the changes in the market? Consider;
- Infrastructure, Equipment, Systems?
- Processes, are they fit for purpose?
- And what about your People?
7. What's going to be the restrictions on you implementing any change?
- Finance and funding?
- People skills and ability?
- Equipment and machinery?
- Lack of an online presence, or alternative routes to market or sales channels?
- Or having to re-energise your Marketing and PR?
8. Also think about yourself. What experience or skill set do you personally lack or is a weakness? Will you require support to successfully introduce change? And do you have the resilience to manage change on your own?
9. What time scales would you need to implement any change to get ahead of the curve? i.e. before everyone else does.
10. And finally, what are your competitors doing? What can you learn and are there any clear gaps in the market?
There are a lot of questions to be considered and I imagine this will take you some time and a decent level of deskwork and research.
Before you commit any large budgets or introduce any change whether incremental or radical, please ensure you have done your homework. Obtaining a positive return on investment (ROI) is critical in these times. As you don't want to waste a good hand with a rash or rushed decision.
If you feel this is too big a task to do on your own or that someone independent facilitating the senior team to go through the above exercises would add value, do consider getting support from an external consultant.
Many consultants, like myself don't charge for an initial consultation. So it's worth getting that initial insight in how they work and can support you.
I'm also aware there are Government Grants such as the Small Business Recovery grant that would pay towards a business owner obtaining external specialist support.
Once you know the answer to these questions, it will be much simpler to put together a plan, setting clear objectives, mapping out the necessary steps, agreeing milestones and setting timelines.
So, before you stick or twist, take a deep breath and the time to consider what you currently hold in your hands. Then consider what hands your competitors are likely to be holding and how potentially the deck is stacked (the future).
If you can create the time to be observant, take notice of your competitors and the nuances in the game, (your businesses market environment) you'll have a good idea what order things may just happen and be able not just to mitigate any risks to your business but also take advantage, as and when the opportunities arise.
"When you waste a moment, you have killed it in a sense, squandering an irreplaceable opportunity. But when you use the moment properly, filling it with purpose and productivity, it lives on forever"
Menachem Mendel Schneerson