When something on my iPad stops working I can usually fix it by hitting ‘reset’. Right now, it feels like the business world is getting ready to reset; but is that the right thing to do? Reset takes you back to how things were before they went wrong. Is that where you need to be? For some, Refresh or Renew may be better options. Let’s take a look.
As I’ve said, Reset takes you back to where you were before. That’s fine as long as your new normal is the same as your old normal. For some that will be true, I can’t wait to get back to my barber, and will go back to visiting as often as I did before. Sure, there may be a few tweaks; PPE and distancing for example, but my barber will, pretty much, go back to doing exactly what he did before.
But even with Reset there may be changes. There may be fewer people willing to venture out for a haircut or they may be happy with a DIY haircut, meaning less demand. On the other hand, some barbers may not have made it through the crisis so there may be less competition and more demand. In the early days of recovery, we must keep a close eye on what new levels of demand look like and have the flexibility to adjust things like capacity and pricing quickly.
So, if you are confident your products and services are as viable going forward as they were in the past, and you have the flexibility to respond rapidly to unpredictable or fluctuating demand in the short term, then Reset is for you.
Refresh is, I suspect, the most effective strategy for most of us. Refresh means we continue to do what we always did but with some significant changes. My own business is a case in point. Before lockdown my sales process, including discovery, solution presentation and negotiation, and the subsequent intervention, were almost all face to face. From now on many prospects and clients will be willing, if not insistent, that we do things remotely.
That means some changes for me. I need to make sure I’m up to date and getting the most from emerging technology. I need to ensure my questioning, listening and persuasion skills are top-notch – which is what I do for a living. Most importantly it expands my market enormously. When you live in North Norfolk your directly accessible prospect pool is pretty small. When you go virtual it becomes the whole country. I need to rebuild my marketing and business development strategies for a national market not just a local one.
So, look at how your market will behave differently in the new normal. Will you need to adapt your solutions, your strategies, your processes, and/or your skills? If you’re not sure, get help. If you are sure but don’t know how to do it, get help. If you can do it, do it now. The companies that have Refreshed to meet the new normal will be first out of the blocks when the brakes come off.
Sadly for some businesses there is, at least in the short term, no viable future. For example, the events industry, involving mass gatherings in closed spaces, are unlikely to come back until an effective vaccine is readily available. And who knows when that will be?
You must ask yourself the hard question – can my business survive as it is? And you must ask that question now. Hoping things will improve doesn’t help; hope is not a strategy.
To Renew means taking quick and decisive decisions. There are only so many gaps in the market to be filled and they will go quickly. I came across a fantastic example this week, Phil Pethybridge of events company Neonstreet, www.neonstreet.co.uk has moved into selling reusable face masks www.reusablemaskuk.com. Not hospital quality PPE but the sort of thing we may be obliged to wear on the train or in the shops. It’s a brilliant move, there’s huge immediate demand and there will be for some time. It will remain until, you’ve guessed it, a vaccine becomes available. So, the new business will start to falter at exactly the same time as the old business, event management, comes on stream again. Totally brilliant.
Refresh means taking a hard look at your business. Has it gone forever, or will it come back? Do I need a permanent change of direction or a stopgap? Where is there a gap in the market I have the skills to exploit? Don’t rush your decision but act as quickly as you can. The new you can be a great you.
Reset, Refresh or Renew? They all offer a route to new prosperity and growth. Decide which one is right for you. Develop a plan to exploit it and the skills to execute it. The future’s bright; the future’s new normal.