BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - June 19, 2021 - 12:00am

A saying in business goes this way: “The only easy day was yesterday.” As I put it in my Level Up Leadership Master Class: “There is no such thing as maintenance in business.” Either a company is growing, or it is deteriorating. I know these are not normal times and am of the persuasion that things will never go back to “normal.” For many businesses, today is all about “survival.” Others are already looking at a post-COVID world and are working hard to achieve leadership positions once this pandemic is over.

A pandemic is a grand shuffling and re-shuffling. As the economy begins its recovery process after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, those that were future-focused did well, while those who merely “survived” lost their market positions while others are gone.

Externally every business organization has to battle competitors that are modernizing fast, and internally, organizations have to wage a battle against inefficiencies holding them back. Inefficiencies may not be operational. It may be the failure of the business to understand and keep up with the changing behaviors of the customers brought about by the crisis.

When the economy was bright and rosy, customers know that they will have to compete with other companies to offer the best purchase price and terms to get the stocks or services they need as growth is the game of the day. But in a contracting economy, customers would want to do business with companies that can offer personalized experiences and provide marketing support which is the business’s way of saying: “We empathize.” “We know what you are going through, and we are here for you, and we will support you.” This is true because many forward-looking companies create learning events and provide a little bit of entertainment to destress customers and their customers and add value to their business relationships.

Forward-looking companies continue to attract, engage, and retain customers. They put themselves in the customer’s shoes, they think like the customer. This kind of thinking process constantly clashes with the thinking like “how much will it cost us?” or “How much profit would we have to sacrifice?” But the forward-looking organizations realize that relationship building, and brand building is essential as it will propel the company to unprecedented opportunities once the economy recovers.

Customers want to do business with providers who show care and are constantly delivering excellence while establishing relationships. Are you customer-focused? Are you on the right track and readying yourself to exploit the opportunities that would present themselves as the economy is poised for recovery? Here is a checklist for you:

Have you visited your webpage? How would you rate it in terms of functionality, aesthetics, and responsiveness?

Have you ever done “mystery shopping” and try to set up an appointment for yourself? Request your staff who would attend to your needs? How are you doing in that area?

Can you identify the unique, high-quality experiences you are providing that serve as your business’s competitive edge?

What areas are you sacrificing in terms of customization so you can scale, and how do all these initiatives affect your customers?

Are you using technology to look for efficiencies in business and save time so that you can spend more time with the customer?

Are you upskilling your leaders, especially in leadership training?

The key here is to stay ahead of the customers. Their needs, demands, and requirements are changing, and businesses should be in touch and anticipate how to meet those changing demands.

Mckinsey Consultancy found that 39 percent of consumers tried new brands during the pandemic. I would know. Just the clients I have had since the webinars and speaking engagements started around April of last year that continues today are in the range of 25 percent new clientele.

Vaccines and vaccinations seem to open up the possibility of economic recovery. Consumers are eager to get out of the house. There is the possibility of “Revenge Shopping,” “Revenge Travel,” Revenge this and revenge that, etc. This would require businesses to offer multiple ways to communicate and engage with their customers.

What new innovative offerings can you provide that adapts to the new customer buying or service experience? How can you make the engagements and interactions amazing and memorable? Rather than being scared about consumer behavior changes, should you not be excited with the immense opportunities for your business to adapt and create a competitive advantage while creating better relationships and experiences for the customers. So are you forward-looking?



(Francis Kong’s highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Master Class Online runs this June 22-24, 2021. Develop your leadership skills that translate into personal, career, and business growth. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)

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