We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us in so many ways, personally and professionally. Family dynamics are changing to accommodate kids at home while parents work, companies are struggling to find new revenue streams in a volatile market, and nationwide we’re all getting used to a very new and different kind of normal. No matter what industry you’re in, your company has likely had to pivot, or scramble, to keep up with the changing times.
It’s natural to feel some trepidation at this point. Your company may be struggling to keep up with the pace of change or looking towards the future with uncertainty—but that shouldn’t be the case. As I’ve learned over many years of business operation, sometimes a time of change like this is exactly what your company needs to reach the next stage of growth. All it takes is a little shift in mindset.
Here are five keys to using this time of upheaval due to COVID-19 as an opportunity for growth:
Identify New Audience Needs
Everyone, in every industry, has been impacted in some way by COVID-19—and that includes your clients. If you’re struggling, they’re struggling too, so now is the time to sit down and think about what your audience’s new needs might be. Are your clients worried about their investments? Are they asking for advice more often? If so, you can identify that they are seeking wisdom and guidance and can use this as an opportunity to provide the reassurance and information they seek. By identifying your audience’s needs and pivoting your services to meet them, you can ensure that your business remains relevant and thriving now—and in the months to come.
For example, I spoke with a Top Tier External Wholesaler recently, in one of the premier territories doing $1.5B per year in sales and he said he ran out of people he could call easily in three weeks. After going through his top client list and checking in with everyone he had a cell number for, he was like…now what? The answer was to go through the receptionist. He was back to the role of an Internal Wholesaler essentially.
On the flip side of that, a National Sales Manager told me he heard from a Financial Advisor that they had received 300 emails from asset management companies in a week. Sixty per day? Sales professionals are going to have to differentiate themselves in new and inventive ways in the weeks and months ahead.
Adapt To New Versions Of Productivity
Businesses around the globe have made an abrupt shift to remote work—and it’s working. Even though work schedules have to be balanced around kids, spouses, and domestic responsibilities, the results are in: Most employees would prefer to work from home. You can take this opportunity to re-evaluate your internal processes and adapt to a new version of productivity. If your Director of Sales works best remotely, in four-hour chunks that start at 5:00am, and continues to meet the requirements of the role, you now have an opportunity to increase their company loyalty by allowing them to keep those hours indefinitely. That individual may think twice about leaving, since they aren’t likely to find such flexibility elsewhere.
Create Clear Communication Expectations
We’re all over-communicating right now since we’re in crisis mode. With familial and professional responsibilities colliding, combined with the uncertainty of remote work, it’s important to communicate your priorities and availabilities. (I can’t tell you how many times a client or a coworker has needed to work their schedule around a child in the last two months.) This is a habit we should all take with us into the future, as we go back to a changed workplace with more remote workers. The transition to remote work will never be fully successful until we establish the necessary communication expectations around the process.
Fuel Digital Transformations
It’s true across the board: The companies and organizations that have been best able to weather the storm are those that were already making the switch to digital tools. Slack, Zoom, Dropbox, and others are the pillars of a remote workspace. If your company wasn’t confident in the digital world before COVID-19, now is the time to make the switch. Use this time to adapt your services to an online world—it will put you ahead of your competition and enable you to pivot more quickly during the next crisis.
Understand that Change is Inevitable
All of us have to understand that change is inevitable, especially under current circumstances. What worked for your company before COVID-19 won’t necessarily work during the pandemic or after it—even if your industry isn’t impacted at first glance. (And your clients will notice if you’re not addressing the elephant in the room.) The most powerful thing you can do for your business is accept that change has come and look for how you can best serve your clients during a difficult time for everyone.
It’s time to adapt. If you don’t know the top 3 things your boss cares about right now, you better figure it out and become top tier in those three initiatives.
At GRN Mid-Cities, we’ve worked with a lot of top-level executives at a lot of really great companies. We’ve seen serious change across a wide range of industries in the past few years, long before COVID-19, and we’ve even had to pivot ourselves. If your company needs a new leader in these times of change, we can help connect you with someone who can help guide your company’s growth.