Idea In Brief: These are extraordinary times filled with uncertainty; that’s precisely why we’ve got to be strategic. (And cost-cutting isn’t a strategy.) Instead of waiting for a “new normal” to emerge, create your own new normal, and find opportunities to make your business more resilient and agile in the process. In this post, I share a few ideas from my Return to Growth training to help you form your coexisting with COVID strategy.
(3.5 Minute Read)
If you’re feeling real reluctance to strategize because of all the uncertainty right now, you’re not alone.
For many of us, our pseudo strategy has become “cut costs, stop investing, and wait for signs of the new normal.” Cutting costs and halting investments might be necessary triage tactics. But waiting for a new normal is a big miss.
Sure there are many unknowns, but we do have reasonable certainty that there is a highly contagious, harmful virus that will be affecting us in some capacity for the next two years.
Now’s the perfect time to focus on what you can do. You can create your strategy for coexisting with COVID by determining how you can better serve your best customers and finding ways to become more resilient and agile than before.
I want to share a few ideas from my Return to Growth executive training course you might find valuable in building the best possible strategy for coexisting with COVID.
It’s Not As Uncertain As We Think
We can’t predict with certainty what the next two years will look like, but we can find guidance in the past and the present.
The Past: The Spanish flu killed 50 million people worldwide and lasted about two years without any vaccine or pharmaceutical therapeutic. According to an MIT study, economic recovery was swifter in cities with more aggressive social distancing policies. Economists think the dynamics of that previous pandemic apply to the one we face today. My takeaway is that we are looking at a two-year timeframe of coexisting with COVID, and economic recoveries could be different regionally.
Present: We can look to countries like China, South Korea, Germany, Denmark, etc., to provide insight into what happens when you reopen the economy. How are businesses and consumers responding? What consumer behaviors are they experiencing that might be applicable in the U.S. recovery? What sectors are doing better than others, and why? What are the policies and procedures required to keep the economy open?
I’m not suggesting there that the uncertainty COVID creates isn’t significant. Still, I do want to encourage you to take control of what you can by realizing you can make the educated guesses you need to make to direct your business and keep it moving forward.
What you CAN Do
The most powerful strategy you can have right now is understanding who your best customers are and how you can overdeliver for them.
Take a fresh look at your customer base and make sure you have clarity on who your best customers are. What is your target customer profile? The criteria that make a customer ideal for your business will be unique to you, but a few I recommend evaluating in my Return to Growth training include:
- What is the near-term and long-term growth potential for this customer segment? What does that look like now with COVID?
- How compelling is your value proposition with customers?
- How well does serving this customer leverage your existing capabilities?
When you’ve identified your best customers, now is the time to get close to them and to understand them more deeply than ever.
- What are their concerns and challenges with the impact of COVID?
- What are their new behaviors, and what is driving that change?
- What can you do to overdeliver and make your value more compelling in light of their new concerns and challenges?
Your customers’ challenges are your challenges, but they also represent an opportunity to increase your value to them. Now is the perfect time to get crystal clear on their struggles and how you can create meaningful value.
Lead Your Business Back to Growth & Profitability
In this training course, I’ll teach you my Return To Growth model to help you identify your best opportunities that leverage your existing capabilities and get laser-focused on what you need to do to put your business in the best position to return to growth and thrive as quickly as possible!
How Might COVID Make Your Business Better?
It may seem impossible to fathom, but if we challenge ourselves to find ways coexisting with COVID can make us stronger, we will get answers. Specifically,
Increasing Value to Customer
How can we improve our value to our best customers? Answering this question will have the most significant impact on our business. I’ve talked about it earlier, but it bears repeating. Finding ways to deliver a superior end-to-end customer experience to our best customers should be a priority.
Creating More Capacity
Cutting out non-essential activities that no longer serve us is critical as we have to find ways to do more with less. In my Return to Growth training, I’ve included an entire module dedicated to eliminating organizational drag and freeing up capacity to execute the most critical strategic initiatives.
Becoming More Agile
A study by McKinsey found that 9 out of 10 executives said organizational agility was critical to business success and growing in importance over time. I’m sure if they took that survey today, it would be 10 out of 10. Being able to quickly and effectively redirect resources and priorities to capture the highest value opportunities is essential. What changes can you make to your people, processes, structure, or technology to become more agile?
These are extraordinary times filled with uncertainty; that’s precisely why we’ve got to be strategic. Instead of waiting for a “new normal” to emerge, create your own new normal, and find opportunities to make your business more resilient and agile in the process.
I’d love to work with your team and guide you through this process. Contact me for an exploratory call to learn more. If you’d prefer a more self-guided approach, be sure to check out my new Return to Growth online course.
Stay safe and be well.