Welcome to The Pivot Pod, where we'll figure out together what's next for small business. Hosted by Frances Cook, with a new expert on each episode. Today it's how to hone in on the strongest parts of your business.
Although the rate of change for businesses is scary, there's also a certain type of freedom.
We're all being forced to try new things, and adapt, which also raises the possibility of striking gold in ways you never expected.
Listen to the podcast episode here:
Business coach Zac de Silva from Business Changing came on The Pivot Pod to share his top tips in adapting for success.
Keep customers and bring in new ones, with two per cent extra effort
A little bit can go a long way, and creating a personal connection will be valuable when customers are deciding which businesses to spend their limited dollars with.
De Silva said it didn't have to be a costly gesture, but a little extra effort could go a long way, even if it was a hand-written thank you included with deliveries.
"You need to have a proactive plan on how you can be the first port of call for potential customers," he said.
"But the most important thing you can do right now is love your current customers, and ensure that they keep doing business with you.
"You need your current customers. So how can you make their lives just a little bit better, how can you add more value proactively, how can you better service them?
"There are different ways you can delight them, which actually don't cost money."
Take downtime so you can see the big picture
When you're busy putting out fires, it's a trap to focus on what's right in front of you without planning for the future.
But de Silva pointed out that with so much changing, you need to take time to think of creative solutions and stay one step ahead.
"At 3M they have to spend eight hours a week just contemplating your navel, smelling the roses, actually just thinking of things.
"How can I make improvements, what questions do I need to answer?"
Doubtless some hard decisions will need to be make in the next few months.
De Silva recommended addressing those with a cool head, brainstorming the likely possibilities, and deciding ahead of time what you'll do in those different situations.
"[Don't] make decisions based on emotions, not metrics. As humans, when we're up against the wall and we haven't had time to think about things, we sometimes want to make split-second decisions that aren't the right one.
"Companies and businesses should be creating several scenarios around, say, their sales levels, and almost predetermining what steps and hard decisions you'll need to make in each scenario."
Just because an industry in under pressure, doesn't mean your company has to be, too
There's a lot of gloom in the news with companies laying off workers and some closing up shop.
But de Silva points out you need to keep those tales of woe in perspective so you can focus on getting your business through to the other side.
"Even in challenging times, there is still opportunity.
"Let's say the economy does contract by, say, 15 per cent, and that affects your industry.
"Well, arguably there's still 85 per cent of your industry there. You just need to take more market share."
Go where the money is
Less obvious than it sounds at first – it can be easy to get caught up in pet projects or pie in the sky thinking.
But de Silva said now was the time to focus on your core business, and what reliably brings in the most valuable customers who will still be willing to spend on your most valuable projects.
"Focus on the most profitable products and customers that you can, and I think you'll come out of this in as good a position as you can."
Listen to the full interview on The Pivot Pod episode above.