Growth and momentum during difficult times
BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - October 3, 2020 - 12:00am

Businesses and organizations are struggling with momentum. How are you going to grow your organization when what you have built on for years changed overnight? COVID-19 is not abating as we hoped it would. There’s no silver bullet answer, but there are clues.

Do not think that this is a season of decline for everyone. Some businesses are growing. Many have pivoted, “repurposed” their companies and they are experiencing growth, I know so because they are my clients. How can you find momentum and growth amid the pandemic when everything seems to be slowing down, and are in a state of decline? Here are a few ideas:

1. Discontinue what sucks too much of your energy or resources.

Maybe a program that used to work has stopped being effective. It takes so much energy to keep it going. Do you know what most leaders do instead? They market harder, in fairness, they even work harder. Perhaps it used to perform well before, and there is an attached sentimentality to it, but it has already plateaued.

If you cannot make it great, then you need to ditch it.

2. Escalate and support your growth areas.

It’s easy to say, “we’re not growing.” But a closer look usually reveals a more complex reality. Chances are, something you’re doing is growing.

Maybe you’re picking up a few new social media followers.

Maybe your online activities and e-commerce is experiencing a spike.

Perhaps you are entertaining inquiries from prospects outside your regular realm and network.

The best thing you can do when you find any momentum is to invest more in it. In other words, fuel it more. Focus most of your efforts on what’s producing the majority of your results. Does this not remind you of the Pareto Principle? Exactly!

3. Deploy new ways and improve things.

Things may have changed radically, but the mission remains the same. As long as you stick close to your purpose, you can deploy new activities, or do something new. Brick and mortar to online, physical office work to remote work, on-ground marketing activities to online marketing activities, traditional marketing to digital marketing, etc. New methods may give new energy and new life to the unchanging mission.

Have you ever noticed that commodities like soap, detergent, or fabric softener have their momentum and seem to be established on “NEW,” or “IMPROVED?” Veteran marketers know that the key to sustained momentum is “New,” or “Improved.”

So the question is: “What’s new and improved with you or with your business? Are we still trying to grow the business doing the same thing? It might not work. What new approach might you try? How can you improve the way you’re doing what you’re doing?

4. Don’t be good at nothing.

There’s an emerging trap for business leaders: the trap of doing nothing well. The lockdown has trained people to stay home longer. They are getting used to doing things and ordering stuff online. Even after COVID is ultimately a non-issue (which could be months or years from now), then that creates a challenge. Many business organizations may have the highest staff and budgets invested where they see the lowest returns and are still hoping that business would return to normal. Meanwhile, online is understaffed and under-budgeted.

The trap is that you end up being good at nothing. It would help if you were good at something. Some of the shifts happening right now are deep and permanent. I see the home’s emergence as the new epicenter of life (work, school, shopping, entertainment, and eating). Perhaps a more expansive vision is to figure out how to come alongside people in their homes. Do we have a strategy that can cater to this cultural shift?

5. Concentrate on your core strength.

This crisis throws everyone off balance. You may even forget what you’re truly gifted at and excel at as a result. Leaders who plateau, get stuck because they’re not operating in their area of peak giftedness or effectiveness.

I am a communicator. Everything I do: webinars, speaking, writing books revolves around communication. So, the best gift I can bring to any organization is clear and compelling communication.

What’s your gift?

For some of you, it is relationship building.

For others, strategy.

Others, it’s content creation.

And what’s your business organization best at?

There are many things you may be good at but the things that you can do exceptionally well would be few. Spend your time and resources there.

Listen, this crisis will pass, but we should not idle ourselves, hoping things will get better without doing something that can provide growth and momentum even in small ways. These may also be the inflection point that equips us to take the lead once this pandemic is over.

(Connect with Francis Kong at www.facebook.com/franciskong2. Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. And 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 dzFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch’, the classical music station.)

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