From Crisis to Recession
It seems that the Virus Crisis, with its vaccines, is coming to an end, with the economic recession already around the corner, until all economic sectors are back to full throttle again.
With all the recent analysis from Deloitte, McKinsey, BCG, FMI, and OCDE referring that we only start to see some economic recovery from the last quarter of this year, we only have 9 to 10 months to put ourselves in the frontline of our industry, regaining or to consolidate our position in the marketplace, against all odds. It´s now critical, during these next months, that you set up a winning mindset to keep at least afloat and be able to perceive and collect all benefits that are always inside a recession. To do that you need:
- Reduce the amount of general news you consume as they tend to be more negative than positive. Remember: good news don’t buy audiences;
- Do NOT cut back your marketing budget. If you can, increase it. Remember: playing it safe will take you inside the herd and there, you become irrelevant;
- Follow up with the negative thinking peers in your industry. If they are scared and afraid, they are allowing YOU to take over the field they are leaving behind. Remember: a client without service it’s not lost, it’s open to change the provider.
We can increase our level of success if we never let down the service level to existing or new clients. Consider even increasing it as this will be the difference between gaining new clients from the competition or losing them forever. They, like you, are going through uncertain times, needing and appreciating assurance and confidence. The cost of poor service is too high to accept and you should not be afraid to go the extra mile to do the difference.
When it comes to marketing, this will not only secure your current clients but will also put you in front of new ones.
Don’t be afraid to innovate here, or to invest in quality content, positive thinking, and client care.
This recession will go away as well as your peers that will follow the negative trend and fail to innovate and secure their market share.
If needed, re-invent yourself without losing sight of your current client base. They are already familiar with you, right? So, what do you have to lose?
Also, don’t be afraid to look inside your own organization to find and correct the less committed with your own survival and success.
This is a great time to do it.
Remember: attitude is key, skills can be trained.
Do it right! Do it well!
If needed, think again!
Many are the articles, posts, comments, and other interventions all over social media, TV, magazines, newspapers, and other forums about the current crisis, by opinionmakers from all walks of life, experience, and more or less legitimate backgrounds.
However, we like facts and, when assumptions, that they are based on robust and consistent arguments.
We are facing a crisis without precedent, no doubt about it. But, as in all crises before and after this one, it’s not only the crisis that has an impact on the businesses.
Crisis, at the same time, bring to the spotlight hidden problems companies and organizations usually have that impact business more than the crisis in itself: Management fragilities, bad decisions or based on insufficient or no information at all, lack of structure, organizational problems, deficient businesses models, among others.
Everybody’s also talking about the crisis as a source of business opportunities for new or re-invented businesses, distribution models, and new ways of reaching the paying client, if not for success, at least to keep afloat.
Mutatis Mutandis, this is old news and, as a matter of fact, no news at all, except to spread some optimism to society at large, minimizing the fear effect that’s over everybody’s head.
I truly believe the real opportunities crisis can promote are two and interconnected. As usual in an open market economy:
- Darwinism: It cleans the market of the feeble and week, unable to adapt and thrive, at the same time that exposes the truly strong and capable;
- Evolutionism: It gives room for companies with visionary leadership and a flexible structure as well as market-oriented business models to quickly reinvent themselves, adapts to new circumstances, adjusts processes and strategies, to conquer the empty ground left behind by the previous ones.
We are seeing this happen even in strongly impacted sectors by this crisis like hospitality, aviation, and tourism.
What are you going to do to take care of your business, get back on track, to fulfill the gap others are creating in the marketplace? What’s your excuse?
Companies, like human beings, if not exercise and take care of themselves, tend to grow fat, develop bad living habits, become slower, have a difficult life, and die early.
An easy way to avoid all this, everybody knows it, is to develop good and healthy habits and going to the Gym.
For a company, the Gym is nothing else than having a regular health check about performance capabilities, cost control initiatives, human resources retention policies, investment priorities, client acquisition strategies, and, above all, keep always positive the ratio between costs and profits.
There’s a recipe to do this, easily and quickly, if you are concerned about time and costs: The MoSCoW approach!
We call it MoSCoW but what matters here are only the consonants, not the vowels. And a healthy company knows exactly its MoSCoW:
- M, for Must have: These are the company essentials, without there’s no life at all. The critical resources to keep the company running;
- S, for Should have: If the previous ones are absolutely critical, these ones are absolutely necessary to secure the life and growth capabilities of the company. A good example of a Should is selling capabilities;
- C, for Could have: The two above criteria and resources that fit inside them makes the company efficient and effective. However, everybody knows that from time to time, we need to give a treat to ourselves, as a reward. Do we need it? – No! Do we deserve it? – Yes! But with objectiveness and control;
- W, for Would have: Well, this one is everything we can live without and need to avoid if there’s no value to have them in the company. We can always evaluate if a Would can become a Could, but it never becomes even a Should.
It’s not difficult to do and to implement, these good habits, based on this MoSCoW principle. Does this help you to understand what you need to do to have a healthy company?
For many, this can be an awkward statement but it’s true.
Let me explain:
– If you have competition, it means you are in a line of business that has customers, and this’ good news as your marketing efforts to enter the market don’t need to be as harder as if you have no competition at all.
– Also, it means you can look at them to understand where you fit, simplifying your offer to the market to some aspect not covered by the competition, taking advantage of it, at the same time.
– You can even serve the market exactly as your competition does but to a different segment or client profile. Again, taking advantage of it.
– Another advantage, if you plan it well, is the technology factor and/or economy of scale you can put in place, to outperform and outprice an older competitor.
– Having competition can be a tough issue since as soon as you become visible, they will reply with all the ammunition they can get their hands on, just to get rid of you.
– At the same time, if your costumers don’t see the benefits you are offering against the competition – or even if they see it – they can (and will) bargain with you as if you are a commodity. At the end of the day, this will happen to all the players in the marketplace, where only the strongest will survive.
– The above will also happen to your suppliers, but this time the other way around, where they will prefer to sell to the higher bidder;
– Its also normal, in such markets, that many other players want to jump in, to get a piece of it too, as we can see now in many lines of business, where differentiation is increasingly difficult.
The bottom line is:
Having competition can be good news, but remember this can also be a poker game, here who knows how to bluff will win the bet against a better hand.
And like playing poker, you should know when to stay and when to leave, or when to have a different approach.
Playing the competition game it’s not an easy task, but it can be very rewarding with the right tools and the right approach because, after all, what’s life without a challenge?
Pains and Gains of thinking internationally
(Sharing with you my presentation in the Get In The Ring Global Meetup 2018)
The Lego dilemma: How to be global without losing local connectivity?
– Very few rules and processes
– Simply organized and communicated around a common ground accepted and recognized by all parts involved with room for local “imagination” to grow and thrive: – The Lego brick!
We will be talking about 7 major key points, or principles, that my experience on the field identified as instrumental to be successful in an international environment:
1 – CHANGE THE MINDSET
– Give up control and centralized decision making
– Identify and Manage the essentials, the key aspects of shared culture and values
– Accept flexibility on the ground, but always around key elements that make it possible to recognize the original idea
2 – EVOLVE
– Be ready to Adapt, Adopt and, therefore, Evolve
– Keeping the focus on essentials and key patterns recognized everywhere by everyone
3 – OPEN UP
– Speak a Common Language: But adapt it to local dialects
– Integrate and Share: Solutions found in a particular context or geography can be easily adapted at large, if translated (adapted) to the local needs, without losing identity
– Spread the Word: Allow imagination, but with the “brick”. Make contextualization the globalization concept
4 – LIVE BY THE RULES
– This is Key: the “Brick” is the rule!
– In some countries, they use some brick formats and not others, some colors and not others. Imagination rules when it comes to using the brick
– This way the entire business will be interconnected and integrated
5 – BUY-IN
– Each country or Business Unit should be responsible for its own P&L and collaborate defining it
– Without local responsibility and rewards, no commitment is achieved
– If not, your “disconnecting” the bricks
6 – INTEGRATION
– Keep alert and identify common, structural aspects of the business
– This will be the common ground for understanding and manage diversity
– It may be complex, but must not be complicated
7 – BE FLEXIBLE
– Draw the Business map and draw it again
– Build to change, not to last – “bricks” will come and go and patterns will change, be refined, and expanded
– Eventually, Growth will be incremental, not only because it will support itself but because it should be based on learning from successes and the unavoidable mistakes
A usual problem that service companies face is that they are often either unaware of service problems, or are under the illusion that service is good.
On the one hand, we have experience with some services that are amazingly efficient, dependable, and organized, and on the other, we suffer through amazingly frustrating unbelievable bad service like being put on indefinite hold during service support phone call.
Most people, if they have any choice, will not tolerate such bad service.
Where there are alternatives tolerance for bad service disappears.
Service companies need to understand that they aren’t competing with bad or good service in itself. They are competing with service expectations.
Typically, most small to mid-size companies struggle to maintain adequate levels of service. Rarely do they give conscious, deliberate, intensive thought into how they can improve the services.
Service companies or Customer service departments need to understand that if they are marketing regular or stellar service to their customers, they need to stick to it as the customers tend to Expect what they communicated. And this, being a Marketing issue, can bring up or down a company’s Results, its success or failure.
Are you selling services? Don’t forget to get real!