Updated: Mar 3, 2022
If you are reading this, chances are you have had to make changes in how you do business over the past year.
To keep your business successful, you need to stay ahead of the curve, exceed your customers’ expectations, and bring excellence to all you do. But many business factors are out of our control, and those elements can reflect poorly on us and negatively affect growth.
Take, for example, the current bane of product-based businesses—worldwide supply chain slowdowns.
Nothing much the average business owner or operations manager can do to influence port congestion, truck driver shortages or consumer demand. However, even an entry-level customer service agent can profoundly affect how your clients perceive, experience, and weather this storm.
At Bubble & Hatch, most of our clients are in product-based businesses—they create things to deliver to their customers. And if those things are unavailable, late or inconsistent because of global challenges, their businesses are at risk.
We wanted to share the top five strategies we see our clients implementing to create solvency, growth and customer satisfaction during this challenging period.
Know—and keep—your customers. Loyal, long-term clients make all the difference during a challenging period in business. Keep up conversations and relationships in good times so when challenges arise, there is open communication and a desire to work together to find a mutually beneficial solution. No client wants to receive a cold call out of the blue delivering bad news. Tip: A fun and inexpensive way to connect with customers regularly is by sending out upbeat, thought-provoking or informative postcards once a quarter. Find the best way to connect with your customers and do it regularly – not just when there is a problem.
Know your industry. It may sound obvious, but make the news and happening of your industry part of your daily news feed. Follow the market trends and projections. Subscribe to trade publications and associations. Join or create industry forums, networking groups, and executive councils that encourage growth and education. Look for changes and innovations coming down the pipeline, and prepare your organization to adapt. Throughout the pandemic, businesses have had to shift production to match the demand for new types of products – stay in tune with those shifts and new opportunities. Tip: Find someone else in the office or in your industry you can geek out with and share ideas.
Know your peers, and work with them. Co-opetition—or cooperating within a competitive space—creates strong allies and business partnerships. Work with another company on a joint marketing campaign. Lend your brand to increase their visibility with your clients as a value-add to your services. Collaborate on a shared line of goods. Tip: Have coffee once a month with someone in your industry you think is doing a great job. By the end of the year, you’ll have 12 new connections and possible partners in success.
Invest in your people. Remember, things are replaceable. People are not. Your employees and independent contractors are your organization’s most important assets. Losing an employee and trying to replace them right now is especially painful. Provide a work environment that is flexible and helps build growth, ownership and value. Remember that customer service agent? If you take care of them, they will pass that care on to your customer. Tip: Read Radical Candor by tech CEO Kim Scott. Your employees will love you for it.
Invest in technology. We are doing more work with fewer people, supplies and resources. Use technology to help make your processes run more effectively. Review your systems and identify the key bottlenecks that could help save time and costs. It could be as simple as upgrading your CRM (customer relationship management) software or as extensive as investing in a robotic palletizing system for the factory floor. Decide where your most profitable investment would be, and go for it. Tip: Regularly ask your employees what could be improved upon. You’ll be shocked by the innovative ideas at every level. Even incentivize them to help the company become more efficient – your bottom line will benefit in the long run.
Businesses in this climate need to be adaptable and flexible. Owners and managers face significant obstacles today, but ultimately they are temporary and can be overcome with perseverance, collaboration, wise investments and strong relationships.
Bubble & Hatch is equipped to guide you through today’s marketing and growth challenges with strategies that deliver. When you win, we celebrate. Connect today!