MapLooking for a way to thrive post-COVID? Here is a MAP to get you started

How are some businesses thriving in the current climate? Unless your products are already online, a great deal of businesses will struggle through lock-down. However, there are things your company can be doing in preparation for the next phase. And even a small a small online presence can help start to ease the transition.

In my conversations with clients, coaching and on webinars, I have noticed three trends that successful businesses are doing to keep ahead of the game. Some of these are being achieved by smaller, more agile companies. Others are being practiced by large companies with plenty of resources. No matter what situation you are in, it’s essential you look at what you and your teams can do to thrive going forward. The three things your business can do is to MAP your pathway to success:

  1. Make it personal
  2. Adapt fast
  3. Partner with others

Let’s get started and look at what these three things may mean for your business. Be sure to let me know how you get on MAPping your way to success post-COVID.

Make it Personal

By now you may have heard that “We are in the same storm, but none of us are in the same boat…”

Same Storm Different Boat
Image Credit: The Wall Street Journal

As we face an unprecedented use of the word unprecedented, let alone the surrounding events, many of us are scrambling to find our place and a new way of working. As far as work goes, for many of us, there will be no going back.

But knowing that still leaves the question, “Where are we going?” And for many, that is still a vast unknown.  Facing the abyss, even when it’s safe, such as the empty horizon from a boat, can fill people with fear. When that empty space is unknown, it is that much harder. We are all in different boats, looking at different horizons and wondering what we are going to do. In times of trouble, we turn to our friends, family and tribe and look for reassurance and support. Sometimes just knowing someone is with you, is all you need to keep facing out to the unknown.

What does that mean for you?

Answering your client’s concerns with generic statements are not going to help give that sense of support, or tribe. As parochial as it might sound, being part of a tribe is part of our nature. As Seth Godin said years ago:

For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
― Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

And the tribal urge increases in the face of fear, it’s our default under times of stress. You need to give your customers a sense that you are part of their tribe, or they are part of yours. To do that, you need to:

  1. Reach out and show you care, as the CEO of Sainsbury’s did early on
  2. Give them something that recognises their contribution or part they play in your business. Proactive gym memberships are reaching out with videos to say thanks for your support.

Remember, even if they are not buying now, they will be. How can you get them to want to choose you?


Adapt Fast

Today the cafés and restaurants re-open in Italy – which ones thrive will depend on how well they have adapted to the new situation. Of course, reputation still matters, but we all know what happened to Kodak… Making sure you’ve done the above and effectively connected with your customers will help to keep your reputation. Now you have to find ways to reach them with your product. Even if access to your product is dependent on real-estate, like theatres, events, shops and bars, finding ways to meet customer’s needs in the “new normal” is crucial.

Those staff who are furloughed and sitting around and “waiting to go back to things like they were before” will not be as well placed as those that have started to look at what they need to do differently going forward. McKinsey have released this report on some of the new skills people will need going forward. In essence, they suggest following these four steps:

  1. Identify the skills recovery business needs
  2. Build the skills & infrastructure
  3. Maximise learning opportunities
  4. Test things out and iterate changes

Beginning this journey now and working across product, operations, marketing and sales will best place your business to thrive going forward. Now is the time to try things out, launch new ideas and respond to your experiments. (Hey, what do you think this article is?) Try it and see the lower the investment in time, the lesser the loss if things don’t work out!


Partner with Others

Working collaboratively has been a “call to action” for some time now. Not only does breaking the siloes within your organisation matter now more than ever, it’s also time to engage with others to help your business stay ahead.

First – get partnering right WITHIN your organisation. Being agile, making changes and effectively meeting your customer’s needs is something that everybody has a stake in. Because the changes needed have to happen so fast, it’s important that functions are working together as seamlessly as possible. There is also less negotiating needed because of the natural alignment of the company’s goals (at least in theory…but that’s another blog).

Getting this right will also help you find the right partners to make effective transitions going forward. Understanding what hurdles you have to overcome to breakdown silos and set the level of communication needed, especially in the absence of face to face meetings. This is critical work that, done well, will make your company respond better in the future and more quickly identify alignment with future partners.

Second, partner with others. If you’ve done the first two steps, you never know where an exponential growth may occur. I’ll end here with an example of a company, that put MAP into practice.

Goodordering is run by a particularly savvy small business owner, Jaqui Ma, that already sells on-line. Fortunately for her, they sell bicycle accessories and her market is growing in the current conditions. But not content with that, Jacqui reached out to her struggling friends to see if she could help. (Step 1: Make it Personal) These friends were creative types that included costume designers that are currently furloughed/out of work because of stall in the entertainment industry.  Together, they used their creativity to make facemasks (Step 2: Adapt Fast). Goodordering decided to offer these masks a small slot on her page (3. Partner with Others).

Not only was the product a hit (the masks sold out in the first hour) the new customers, grew traffic to the existing products. As a result, Goodordering tripled their turn-over in the past three months. business.

I said at the start that we are all in different boats, some could feel like ocean liners while others are more like single skiffs. In either case, no one knows where exactly the storm is gong to dump us nor what tools we will need on the other side to get us to safety. For now, I urge you to prepare your landing and get your MAP in order for both your company and your customers.

  • Make it Personal
  • Adapt Fast, and
  • Partner with Others

Let me know how you get on and if you need any further help getting your company ready to thrive.