As the furlough payments and a summer of extreme weather come to an end, businesses are facing an autumn of decisions. Now is the time to reflect upon recent trading and to consider the bigger picture.
I’m often asked: should I carry on as I am, or cease trading in my business? But rarely do clients ask about other options.
It can be tricky to spot, but there’s often a third way. Taking a step back from the daily firefighting of trading can provide a different view point that is useful when deciding where to take your business.
The third option
There are more options available than you may think. Some easy, some obscure, and some may well be dismissed immediately but restricting your thinking restricts your outcomes.
The important thing is to consider the bigger picture in which the business operates and list as many opportunities or options as you can.
Here are three ways to help you find the third option for your business:
1. What do clients value about what you do?
We can spend so long working in the business and not working on the business that we fail to spot or understand what clients actually value about what we do.
I know I thought I was selling a tax efficient accountancy solution, but when I asked my clients what they valued about my business they thanked me for listening and for helping them to get a clear vision of the life they wanted. What they valued was the coaching that came with the service and that is what marks me out from my competition.
So find out what your clients value about you.
Survey the clients you like working with. Ask for feedback about what they get from working with you and what keeps them awake at night.
What could you be doing that supports those other needs?
This is a great way to spotting a niche and a potential shift in business. Be bold and even if there is not obvious third option, you could well gain some great testimonials.
2. Review your processes
Many businesses went into the pandemic in a panic to keep providing a service. Now it is time to not only consider the service you provide, but how it is delivered.
One of the benefits of the pandemic is that there is a greater tolerance for changing processes.
Everyone has had to learn new ways of doing things so why not take the opportunity to change not just what you do, but how you do it?
What can you streamline, what can you let go of entirely and what can you outsource?
3. Skills and experience
Sometimes the third option is matched to a unique opportunity or skill. Consider what you do both inside and outside of work.
What are your broader skills? Not just the usual skills, but the unique skills that you have. You could choose to move along your supply chain or to use those skills elsewhere.
For example, by the end of March 2020, I know of one business that had no clients. Contracts were cancelled as the pandemic hit and they were forced to think differently. When they considered the skills they had, they realised that they had published over 15 books between them and had over 40 years business experience. They created a new product which grew into a publishing business. They sold these services to the individuals they had met in a corporate setting as well as finding a broader market. It gave the business the time it needed to wait for the market to recover.
Back to the future
The 100 emails which arrived today, the LinkedIn requests and the social media you said you would do but didn’t, don’t really matter. It’s time to step off of the hamster wheel!
The personal and business overwhelm and increased workload of the last 18 months has been enough to distract anyone, but now it is time to consider the future. It is the time to decide what you are going to let go of and to create what your post-pandemic business looks like.
The bigger picture around your business needs to reflect global trends, staffing trends and employment needs, economic realities and the priorities of the public. However, it also allows you to re-write the rules of what you do and how you do it.
Take the time to be honest and clear about the impact of the last 18 months. What have you learned about yourself? Your clients? Your team? Your market? Your values and your priorities?
The whole world is changing so why not change too; rebuild the business you deserve and do the same for your clients.
If I can help with the rebuild then get in touch.