Coming out of Lockdown What next?


How have we supported business during lockdown? 

Lockdown was always going to be a severe business interruption, and whilst the Stay Home, Save Lives and Protect the NHS was the focus for the Government, it was clear our focus needed to be on supporting our community, preparing for the future and saving businesses.  That is exactly what we set out to do.  We started by moving all clients to weekly sessions on Zoom (with more support as needed).  Created a ‘hub’ of knowledge for emerging stages built around the information provided via various media, clients ‘on the ground’ in various locations around the world, and our international ActionCOACH network.  We added 2 webinars per week.  Tuesday at 8.30 to provide motivation, ideas, and support from the very best, Paul Dunn, Philip Hesketh, Jim Lawless, Steve Judge and our local celeb Alison Edgar to name just a few.   Friday at 9 to provide expert information on subjects relevant to businesses right now, from the HR Department to the British Business Bank.  With a team capable of giving solid business guidance for most situations we have, and continue to offer, gifted advise sessions to any business looking to drive their business through the coming weeks and months.

How has this crisis affected our business?

Well to start with we have become crazy busy with dealing with what is now ‘normal’ (I don’t believe there is a ‘new normal’… rather normal is just what we need to adapt to and work with… and the normal we have this week is likely to be different again next week).  Our revenues, along with those of many clients, have taken a massive hit, and we are grateful to the clients who have been able to help us through the last few months, as indeed we hope all our clients appreciate the support we offer (their feedback would suggest so which is incredible).  There were tears when we left our office, The Progress Shed, to work from home and splitting our team has been hard on us all.  Exciting times though as we are currently building offices within our event space to create our ‘socially (together) distanced’ offices.

How are businesses coping?

Businesses are in various stages coming through this time.  Initially, we modeled the emotional journey against that of the 7 stages of grief, working through the shock and denial to anger and depression before progressing to the hope and rebuild – this has been surprisingly accurate.  Few businesses have been unaffected, some have gained, the vast majority have been pushed into an enforced state of paralysis.  Many have stayed there.  More and more are waking up and driving forward.  As small businesses there is a strength and resilience that needs to be recognised.  Businesses can and will cope… if they don’t they will struggle to recover or even survive.  So, if we refer to Steve Judge’s model, the wave or resilience.  Businesses started in a state of shock and denial, for most this has now passed.  Many are now waking up to a degree of anger (the news is fuelling this at the moment, hindsight gives them an amazing ability to point out the failings of decisions made).  Frustratingly many are colluding in the ‘doom and gloom’ approach, the “there’s nothing we can do about it”, the “we’ll just have to see where it goes” approach, to my mind this isn’t coping, it is staying firmly back in denial!  So, at this point, coping = action.  It is getting things moving to sell your way forward, to find a route and create a plan, flexible, and clear enough to follow.

How Businesses are adapting

Well, that depends on the business.  All our clients are adapting and changing to the current situation, I say current because things are moving so fast at the moment.  For some the primary job is to survive, for others to transform and for others to perform.  This has involved some running deliberate strategies to create new contacts, others to completely re-invent the business to reach different and new markets and for others to reposition themselves, their marketing, systems and teams to give themselves the opportunity to not only bounce back but to bounce higher!

Biggest Challenges?

Wow, well the challenges are rolling.  Cash flow was an initial fear for many, working from home, how to market, what to sell, when to sell, how to move forward.  Then, how to manage the team, how to lead the team, how to keep motivation and how to move forward.  Now, when to get back to the office / workplace, whether to remain at work, who to un-furlough, when to un-furlough, how to get the marketing working, timing of anything.  And in the background, probably the biggest challenge is the ‘what if’ scenarios that keep running round our heads, our businesses, the news all of which lead to the question of ‘what should I do next’… indecision, uncertainty and paralysis will damage businesses is almost certainly be one of the most significant challenges for businesses finding their feet in the next few weeks / months.

Key areas to work on with businesses now

Initially, the core elements for survival and recovery… I have 12 of them… Communication, Outlook, Change, Cuts, Credit, Team, Work away from Work, On-line, Customer Service, Marketing, Selling and Common Sense.  Ensuring survival is step 1.  Stepping up to drive and sell your way forward is step 2.  Positioning your business to thrive is step 3.
Right now… I am working on stage 2 and 3 with all my clients.  This is really around creating relevant plans (accounting for variances and risk), measuring the tone of communication-based on the current state of your market, challenging your plans every day, reviewing the team (cuts, recruitment and resources), strategy for existing & new clients and what and how you are selling right now.

We’ve busy with lots of supportive online events so future plans in  June/ July/ August?

We are keeping our webinar series running (we have some incredible speakers lined up over the coming weeks).  Following requests from clients, we will be introducing our first Get the Edge online progression course from July, these are interactive, fun, educational coaching sessions to get the drive into any small, emerging or developing business.  Added to this Jo and Nigel are running regular sessions to help businesses understand how to support their teams (and to make them more productive) in the current state of normal.  In addition to this we are recording a variety of new 30 minute (or less) ‘what to do next’ sessions which we will be sharing soon.  Beyond this, any business that needs help to create a strategy around their team, sales and growth moving forward is welcome to take us up on a comp session (we allow 6 hours for these each week, so just ask and we will book you in).Book Now

What about teams on Furlough ?

 Jo is working with teams on furlough keeping them connected with the business and excited about returning to work.  It’s a great program that takes the pressure off the Business Owners as the background support is external.  We have several furloughed team members who have joined our webinars and it is great to see them pushing their education forward.

Advice as we move out of lockdown.

I have already said there is no ‘new normal’ it is just normal… and that will be new pretty much every day, certainly every week and definitely every month!  Coming out of lockdown will be an interesting state of normal… we will need to be prepared:  Prepared for the different approaches of different people; prepared for the new legislation and H&S requirements; prepared to market; prepared to sell; prepared to take risks; prepared to step forward and prepared to look for the opportunities that will inevitably be presented (this does not mean look to take advantage, rather look for where your business can move forward).  Overall, create your plans, manage your risks, support your team, find the opportunities and absolutely, work with a coach!  (It doesn’t have to be me… but… a good business coach will help EVERY business to move forward with purpose and is an investment that will give you an amazing ROI).

A Call to Save Common Sense

Today we come together to save a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he is, since his birth records were long ago. He selflessly devoted his life to service in schools; hospitals, homes, factories and offices, helping folks get jobs done without fanfare and foolishness.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

– If it’s to be it’s up to me;

– If you keep doing what you have always done you will always get what you have always gotten;

– Life isn’t fair;

– and maybe it is my fault.

Common Sense lives by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (the adults are in charge, not the kids), and it’s okay to come in second.

He is in danger because good people have become ruled by the only out for themselves attitude and the desire to be famous not for achieving greatness but for achieving nothing.

Common Sense is losing ground as parents attack teachers for doing the job that they themselves have failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

Common Sense almost gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense, Truth and Trust, Discretion, Responsibility and Reason are on the endangered list hunted by the 3 evil poachers of success

  • I Want It Now
  • Someone Else Is to Blame
  • I’m A Victim

If you want to help save Common sense then use whatever you have left and get in touch

Email me at andywalter@actioncoach.com

Or

Book a 10 minute call here

Andy

2.5 Billion People to Choose From?

In the last week, I have had more than one person tell me that their customers are not on LinkedIn or Facebook and that they don’t see the point of maintaining a Strong Social Media presence.

I mean seriously who exactly are their customers and where the hell are they hiding, 2.5 billion is pretty much everyone in the developed world.

You know how he told me this?

On LinkedIn messages, yep on Social Media I was told that Social Media doesn’t work for this person, and I am they type of person who might buy his services.

Of course it doesn’t work if you have no interpersonal skills, if you can’t talk to people then do the rest of us a favour and get out of business right now or employ someone who can interact with people.

5 days a week I write these tips and ideas that are aimed at helping people grow their business, these are given freely and without expectation of anything in return, I simply offer to talk to people who feel they would like to achieve more and understand they need a different perspective to move forward.

For the most part analysts agree that a 5-7% churn rate is good so even if you are performing at the top of your game you need to replace 5- 7% of your customers every year just to maintain current sales levels, on top of that the average increase in costs for a business is currently 2 – 3% so just to stay safe you need 10% growth every year to maintain your level of performance.

If your customers aren’t on Social Media where exactly are they?

For those of you that like your numbers, 63% of the UK population are on Social Media, (ONS) the makeup of the UK population by age shows that 64.6% are in the ages between 16 and 69 that’s pretty much everyone.

If you don’t want to move forward, if you don’t want any new customers if you are just waiting for your existing ones to leave and quietly close the doors of your business why the hell are you reading this?

If you do want to grow your business then start taking Social Media Seriously.

If you want to talk please

Book a 10 minute call here

Nothing to sell on this call just seeing if I can help

Andy

Don’t Blame Me!

That was my response when a rather large and well know corporation tried to blame me for the fact that what they had sent me was not fit for purpose, it just didn’t do what I wanted it to do end of story.

Well not quite the end let me tell you how this came about, when I discovered that what I had didn’t do what I wanted I went back to them to point this out as I thought maybe they didn’t know it didn’t work the way I expected or they might well have a problem somewhere that needed fixing.

I wasn’t blaming anyone for anything and I wasn’t looking for money or an apology even I just wanted to get it fixed.

Apparently according to the Corporation, I don’t know how to use it, they have never asked me about Skills or Capabilities or even experience all of which would have told them I definitely do know how to use it and in fact could quite possibly have shown them how to make it better, nor did they clarify the issue or ask what I would like as a possible outcome they simply blamed me for it.

How many of you out there think I will go out of my way to do business with them again? How many of you have noticed I haven’t mentioned them at all? It’s not because I am worried about being sued I just don’t want to give them any publicity at all.

Way to take responsibility for their actions huh, if you take the word responsibility and break it down you get Response and Ability so this is your ability to choose how you respond to any situation and in this instance, I think they could have chosen to respond in better way.

If you work few hours and take a lot of holidays and live a relaxed and happy life then that is totally on you and congratulations.

On the other hand, it’s not my fault that you work long hours, take few holidays, feel stressed and under pressure, and it’s not my fault you haven’t achieved what you want to, spoiler alert! It’s yours.

Blame, Excuses and Denial are the Bed fellows of Mediocrity, if you deny that you are doing anything wrong or deny that you need to learn to be better and grow your organisation, if you are making excuses for why you don’t have the time, money or the team to do this, if you blame circumstances or the economy for your current lot in life let me give you the same tip I gave the corporation.

Take some bloody responsibility for where you are in life, be accountable for what you have or have not achieved and start taking ownership of your life that is the path to achieving whatever you want.

Be Better

Steven Covey asked in his book “the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” if you there was one thing you could do that you are not already doing that if done well and consistently would have a massive positive impact on your business or your life what is it?

Marshall Goldsmith asks, “pick one thing you could be better at”

If you struggle to pick one here are some suggestions

1. Be Willing to Change

To get better, you have to be willing to change. Change is the only way for you to grow be more open to change.

2. Stop Making Excuses

Take accountability for your own mistakes and stop making excuses.

3. Stop Being Angry

Being angry doesn’t help you or solve any problems, it only creates more of them.

4. Be A Role Model

No matter what you choose to do, always make decisions that the person looking up to you will respect.

5. Forgive Someone

Humans are prone to making mistakes. Instead of holding mistakes against them, try to forgive.

6. Listen to People

Being a good listener will improve every other skill you have.

7. Be Honest

Truly honest people are hard to come by nowadays.

8. Do Something You Don’t Want To

Keeping an open mind and try things that you wouldn’t normally do

9. Practice The above at home

Who is more important your work colleagues, boss or employees or your partner or significant other?

If it’s important to grow and be better as a business owner, leader or manager it’s even more important at home .