The Unexpected Upside of Inside
For someone who enjoys nothing more than the great outdoors, it has surprised me just how much I am enjoying all this time inside.
Many of us, myself included, are finding that we now have the time to really study our home environment and, more importantly, make changes. Make it more the way we want it. Better to live in. More ‘right’. This extra time has allowed for a better understanding of how we want to use the space. And whether we set about making these changes ourselves, or task someone else help us, our brief today is so much clearer than it could possibly have been a month ago.
So, what does this have to do with business? The fact is, if there is one thing we are usually short of in business, it’s time. We run at a breakneck speed, turning out as many initiatives, improvement activities, growth plans, debt restructuring, market penetration, HR issues, channel management, stakeholder relations (the list is endless) as we can possibly handle. If we are good leaders, we will have time built in to think and create strategies that drive the success of our organisations. But it’s rarely as much as we would like. Generally, we build our strategies on the run.
For most of you, the last few weeks will have been a fight for the survival of your company. You will have made tough decisions about furloughing, redundancies and other cost cutting actions that are essential to the future of your organisation – actions you wouldn’t have thought necessary only a few weeks ago. So, what now?
I am going to assume that, like myself, you have been bombarded by companies trying to entice you to spend your way out of this situation and reminding you not to cut your marketing budgets so you can bounce back faster and bigger than ever before …
I am not saying this is wrong. In fact, there cases from previous recessions where taking this advice yielded fantastic results.
And yet, in my opinion, there are a few things that I think are worth doing first: get to know your customers and potential customers better than you ever have before. Take this time to truly ‘get’ them. Understand how they might have changed over the last few years and if the current situation might have accelerated any of these changes.
Look around your business like you look around your home; see what adjustments will make it a more liveable place for your team.
Do you have a clear strategy that helped your decision making during this time? Or were you left with empty words that didn’t provide the type of guidance you would have liked?
This is the time to study, think, consider, and truly understand your reality. Use the tools available to you.
Your customers have more time on their hands too. Engage them in new ways. Talk to them. Listen and learn. Do the same with your team. From leadership to your interns. Review some of the initiatives you have put in place. Do they make for a better business in the future? Will they make you stronger? Truly understanding your reality will allow you to take a more accurate guess at what comes next. And with a reviewed and clearly articulated strategy, you will be able to see opportunities on the other side that you might have missed in the whirlwind of everyday business.
Yes, I am an optimist. Yes, I believe in the power of imagination to overcome any obstacle. But this belief will help us come out stronger and fighting on the other side.
Manfred Abraham, CEO of BrandCap, part of the Populus group