Tired of the Pandemic and Politics? Who isn’t? Unfortunately, both may get worse before they get better. But when I look back on this year, I am inspired to optimism. I have witnessed incredible strength and resiliency where company leaders have made tough choices but in so doing have strengthened their cultures, their relationships with customers, and their role in the community.
There is no silver bullet for what is next but there are some things that help accelerate recovery:
Attitude: “…for some, the upheaval has been a blessing in disguise. If you embrace it as an opportunity to increase your company’s agility, cut unnecessary spending (through sustainable operating efficiencies) and rethink processes, you can emerge from the crisis stronger than before”. Inc. Magazine 11/20
Transparency: Teamwork is critical, as is keeping remote workers energized. Frequent and regular communication is essential; it builds trust. Next year we need all hands-on deck to help not only keep the business moving forward but make it stronger too.
Customers: Know where your growth is coming from. The customers of the past may not be the customers of the future. Will you grow through new domestic customers, new global customers, or expanding sales with existing customers? While Inc. magazine’s top 5000 companies #1 answer was through new domestic companies (44%), more mature companies or markets may be looking at new services in conjunction with expanding business with select profitable existing customers. Have a clear strategy.
Value Proposition: As they say, “necessity is the mother of invention”. Now is the time to improve your value proposition to the “right” customers at the expense of competitors. One compounding pharmacy is shifting its customer mix from 25/75 consumer/business and instead of serving like a fulfillment center will operate in a more proactive way. Unlike competitors who take 5-7 days to turnaround fulfillment they have pledged to do so in 48 hours with free shipping and fixed prices for many custom formulations. They are forging relationships with new providers including telehealth companies and have started advertising digitally. They are also working on improving communications to customers and simplifying processes. For doctors, they offer access during off-hours. They aren’t trying to incrementally improve the model one variable at a time but rather transform it.
Anticipate and Plan: Those with strategic plans are having to change some of their execution priorities, but most are relying on the general guardrails of it to make sure they are not inadvertently undermining their future. If you don’t have a strategic plan, believe it or not, now is the time to be putting one in place. One key part of a plan includes identification of possible unforeseen circumstances with some contingency plans in place. Whether a big customer leaves, a key employee goes to a competitor or a competitor closes shop—how do you respond? Being agile is another critical necessity.
What else would you add to the list to address for 2021? Reach out and let’s exchange ideas!