Gone are the bells and the whistles. Gone is the sugar-frosting… even that lovely cherry on the top. Those are the things that only appeal when your organization’s core is not under threat… because addressing that critical core of the business is boring, it’s stressful, and it was not great for your career to expose what was truly dysfunctional in your organization. Now all the frilly paraphernalia has been cast aside, and we have no choice but to focus 100% on that core.
Why we didn’t address the core and focused on nice-to-haves
Having to deal with critical issues like security, making processes flow and work better, helping train staff to stop doing things the same way they have for 30 years, addressing why your service providers never deliver any of the stuff they claim they do on their PPT slides, asking difficult questions why your firm spent millions on software they simply failed to deploy… those were the things we knew deep down we needed to do, but most the folks around us just didn’t care, and would have thrown us under the bus if we’d agitated for real change. So we did the safe thing… pushed initiatives that promised some incredible future value as long as we threw around some cash and made everyone look good. Plus, the steak dinners with decanted wine always helped… After a while, we just convinced ourselves what we were doing was critical even if our firm didn’t really have to have any of it.
Addressing the core of your business is the only thing to save yourself… and your business
We have absolutely zero choice but to address these two actions to survive and win our in today’s environment:
- Finding our “bottom” and devising a financial plan to survive the cross-winds of recession. As much as we can play with sexy terms like resilience, we cannot avoid the one reality of surviving what were are currently experiencing – having a decisive financial plan to survive. Without it, we’ll continually panic and flounder and never be able to attack our markets with a game-plan to come out of this on top.
- Finding that chink of light to guide our organization to the market leadership position we crave. Once we’ve achieved a financial plan to survive, we are now in a position to get focused on the services and products customers simply have to buy, because they have no choice, as their cores are under threat without them. That means focusing all our investments on making damned sure that happens.
The Bottom-line: Identifying your customers’ have-to-haves is the only path to follow in this market, but only once they know what they are!
It’s one thing to identify what our current customers (or prospective customers) have to buy from us, but it’s another to make sure we are not wasting our valuable time and resources on those who haven’t yet worked out their plan to survive this market. There are still many organizations out there who are still scrambling to fathom what is going on, holding out some hope for a magical imminent V-shaped bounce-back. As lovely as that prospect is, holding out for that miracle will likely end in tears. What’s more, you are also a terrible customer, as your firm is too nervous to invest in anything serious.
So find your bottom, find your chink of light, then identify your customers who simply know they have to buy what you are selling. It really is that simple.
In Part II we’ll get into what customers have-to-have. You know you have to read it =)