Commentary

WTF Are We Going to Do Now?

No one had to say it, because everyone in my company felt it. After months of research, repositioning the organization, and refining the messaging, it all blew up in less than a week.

With the global pandemic in full swing, I’m sure this scenario is playing out across organizations around the globe. Whether it’s sales goals, marketing budgets and/or anything in between — they’ve all been blown to hell.

So what do we do now? It’s a great question that so many of us are asking. To help answer it, I went back into the archives to see what projects clients were undertaking during the “Great Recession” of 2007. Here’s what I learned.

Repositioning and structural change: I found companies using the downturn to reposition themselves in the market, shifting from product to services, from product-focused to customer-focused, etc. Often, they made a structural change as well as a change in positioning. 

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So now, be prepared to see new competitors coming into your industry once the economy recovers. Or, it could be your organization taking the chance to enter new markets. 

Fixing the infrastructure: For many, running hard for the last 10 years created very little time to fix basic problems, especially related to the revenue engine. A slowdown is a perfect time to fix the things that can create greater efficiency coming out of a recession. An investment in this area produces a ROI that only gets better over time. 

Look at the quality of the database, opportunities to leverage AI, and better tracking and performance solutions. This requires an investment in time and focus  rarely found in good times. 

Refining the value: It’s not the value proposition, it’s the entire value package. 

You can count on one thing for certain about the future: Customers will have to, or will expect, more for less. Don’t get caught flat-footed. Prepare now to deliver more value for the money or expect to 1) be undercut by competitors, and/or 2) take a hit on your profit. If you can’t figure out how to build in new value, then figure out how to deliver the same value for less. 

In challenging times like these, the first reaction is basic survival. And for many, that may be the case for the foreseeable future. As a small-business owner, I feel you! Many of the plans you’re making now are built around business viability, but soon there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Keep in mind, the items I’m suggesting will take at least 16 to 20 weeks to plan, develop and execute. 

I understand it may take all your time and energy to ride the storm out in the short term, but keep your eyes on the horizon. Good luck. We can do this!

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