With vaccine rollout in full swing, is it OK to talk about getting back to business? The people hardest hit by the shutdown are the ones for whom recovery is most important. When your business thrives, everyone benefits. Your clients. Your employees. Even those who lost their jobs in the shutdown and now need new opportunities are counting on you.
Your clients hire you because you improve THEIR BUSINESS. If they are going to grow and thrive, they need your help.
When your firm is strong and growing, YOUR EMPLOYEES have more opportunity. They need your success.
When good people find themselves out of work, they need other firms to grow, expand, and hire. YOUR FELLOW PROFESSIONALS need your firm to thrive.
4 Lessons for thriving at all times:
Resilient firms manage ups and downs and come out in better shape than their peers. Being lean is more than cost-cutting. It celebrates Less Is More and stays focused on what really matters. Too many firms don't know what really matters. Doing less is more work until it becomes less work. Paraphrasing the Chinese proverb, "The best time to get focused was 20 years ago. The next best time is now."
Don't back off on your marketing and client development. However, the world has changed so you can't just double down. Increasing your relevance to your clients increases impact while optimizing for lean. The way to be heard is not to shout louder, but to be more relevant. A lot of what passes for marketing doesn't make you more relevant to potential clients. Stick close to the topic that is ALWAYS relevant: improving your client's business.
Being relevant to your referral partners drives more and better referrals. Being a go-to resource for referral partners supports their business and helps them thrive. You want to hit a home run every time they send one of their highly-valued clients your way. When you make their client (and now yours) happy, you make the referral partner look smart for recommending you. Clear and concise positioning makes it easy for your referral partners to understand, remember, and share the situations where you hit it out of the park.
Resilient firms continue to invest in crucial capabilities such as reading demand signals so they can reallocate resources. During the last recession, resilient firms were 27 percent more likely to divest slow- or no-growth assets. Not only does this increase your focus (see #1) but it frees up resources (money, time, people) for strategic investments.
I strive to create the type of community that I want to live in. The best way I know how to do that is to help other business owners create opportunities. When I help a client thrive it means they are improving their customer's business. This multiplier effect lets me have a bigger and better impact on the world we all share.
Not every firm will be great. But any firm can be. It's your choice.