COVID-19 is causing a lot of fear all around. Fear of infection is there for each one of us. But this is only one type of fear. The Businesses are suffering the fear of uncertainty. Where will the topline come from? How will we pay the Salaries and Wages of the Employees without proper top line? It seems even the famous Venkateshwara Temple in Tirupathi is going through these uncertain times. They are not having enough money to pay the huge contingent of employees that the Lord has in terms of TTD! I am sure the TTD will find a way. But the Businesses seem to have big problem at least in the immediate term. It is not just about big businesses. Even the small businesses right from Barber shop to a Management Consultant to a Trainer to a Recruiter are suffering a high anxiety level.
Employees are losing jobs. There are many messages in my Inbox about Good and competent people losing the jobs. Wonderful professionals otherwise losing their way temporarily.
Fear is also an energy. A negative one. But it can be a great motivator if used well.
Businesses and individuals should use the current situation to reenergize their Plans for Growth. They have to go to areas where they never even tried to go. This is the time to learn new Skills, new methodologies and challenge the fear.
Let us look at one area in the Business in this article. The Top line. How do companies rediscover themselves in the area of whom they are serving and how they are serving. How do we find higher Topline in these times.
I am not saying I have some magic wand. But one needs undying Positivity during these times. A belief in themselves that they can transform themselves as needed. The Positivity can be a magic wand.
Clarify ‘Why’ you are doing what you are doing!
One also needs to link to the higher purpose of what one is doing. Do not run after the Top line alone for the sake of top line!! A Consultant will have to find out what really motivates him. Is it the money that the client gives or is it the Development of the Businesses that gives you a kick? Can you get motivated by building high performance teams in companies? Can you get motivated by Companies adapting new technology and going to the next level? Can you get motivated by Indian Manufacturing becoming world class?
Looking at bigger Businesses, a Foundry can look at the higher purpose of utilizing less resources and taking care of environment while they are chasing turnover OR you make the ‘Environmentally friendly and efficient foundry’ as your goal. Then the Business will follow. A Textile company can chase the dream of becoming an efficient company that can serve the humanity with its’ technologically superior products in these Pandemic times. The whole humanity wants Clothes / Bedding products / Home textiles that are safe to use. That can protect them from the Virus. A wonderful opportunity for a right-thinking company.
An Engineering Company that is producing Capital goods can look at making their Products World Beating products now if they are not. If they are able to diversify into Products that are in demand right now, that is quite good. We can see many companies that are venturing into producing Ventilators.
This re-orientation is a must to survive this short-term fear and help yourself to propel into a higher orbit.
Do not chase the Top line alone to take care of your Top line. Re-orient towards the ‘why’ part of what you are doing. Find a higher purpose of ‘Why’ you are doing what you are doing.
Having set the context, we can look at a few options in front of Businesses in these Pandemic times:
01. Look at Adjacencies: A Recruiter should look at helping the Companies to redefine the Organization structures, he can look at Coaching the Senior people to become effective. A Trainer should look at turning to Video training. But training methods suitable for this type of engagement have to be adapted.
A Textile Company should look at diversifying into Hospital products. A Capital goods company can look at providing the Services of their products in place of their products. Your Clients may not be interested in buying your products. But they may be interested in it as a service. A
Compressor company can look at providing Compressed air as a solution in place of giving a Compressor. They can set up Compressed air stations and provide Compressed air to the Companies around the Center. This may require more technology than what they have. But that is the challenge.
A Stone Crushing Plant manufacturer can look at providing the service to the clients by setting up his own Plants owned by the Company itself.
An Engineering Company that had been ignoring its’ Spares business will find it the right time to enter into it.
02. Look at introducing New Products to suit the new situations: Bring out all your New Product Plans that you have been shelving as your team was not free.
This is the time to bring out the family of products that are more efficient. Bring out the Products that your clients have been waiting for.
An Automotive Parts company can look at introducing parts with higher efficiency. A Textile company would bring out the Apparel that may include matching Face masks, Face shield. Products with Anti microbial / Anti viral coatings. Earlier only Hospitals were looking for Bed sheets with specialized coatings. Now even the Hotels would be looking for it. A huge opportunity for the right-thinking company.
An Engineering Products company can come out with more energy efficient products.
03. New Markets: No company is operating in ALL markets. Not for ALL products. This is the time for going into new Markets for all your Products.
If you do not have enough Exports, then it is the time to get into the Export market. A tough time to do that. But remember the problem of not being able to travel is there even for your potential customers overseas. But they are looking at improving their efficiency as much as you are looking for your growth.
Same thing will apply to the various markets within India.
If you have been ruling out certain markets as you do not have products, now is the time to look at those markets.
04. Diversification: You had been planning the Diversification into a different Product for a long time. But you had been too busy to complete this Project. This is the time to bring the Project forward and complete it.
A Trainer may have been planning to get into using E-Learning to enrich his offering. Now is the time to find the right partner for this and take it forward.
An Engineering Products that had been planning into Medical Engineering Products will find the current situation more than welcome.
A Foundry or Machine shop that had been planning a Diversification into their Product can go ahead now.
An FMCG company that had been building its Brand will find this situation apt for launching different products. People are at home now and are having more time now to take a look at the new products. More snacking is happening now than ever. This is a wonderful time for new products from a known Brand.
A Consultant who can give solutions for Companies to rediscover themselves can be in demand.
05. E-Commerce: Everyone knows that now the E-Commerce is going to boom and Customers would look at going online for more products than they had been doing. Now, how can you modify your offerings to suit this preference of the Customer?
A Trainer has to become effective on Zoom and deliver results.
A Consultant should be able to inspire his client’s team to go to the next level online! This is an entirely new level for most of the consultants.
E-Commerce can be used effectively whether it is B2B, B2C or C2C. This is already happening in terms of Amazon, Flipkart and so on.
The question is how do you get into this yourself? You need to draw up a Plan for a big push in this area. A Big Goal has to be set up in this area.
The right talent has to be brought in and the Company has to start off the journey in a confident manner.
If you have not been selling using the E-commerce platform, then it is a huge opportunity for you. You can look at selling your Products / Services using the E-Commerce platform.
Virtual Customer Relationship Centers
Every Company should look at building closer relationships with their Customers. Currently it is difficult to be in touch with the Customers in person. Hence every Company should find its’ own way of building closer relationship with the Customers using the Digital platforms. Companies need to invest into Digital Customer Interaction centers. You can use Zoom and give them Presentations. But you can go much beyond these normal Presentations.
You can let the Customers much more into your Company and give them peek into your work and your factories. There is going to be much more invention in this area. How can you tie up a bigger relationship with your Customer? Earlier they were coming to your Company once in few months. Only a few people would come from your Customer or few people from your company would go there. But now you have opportunity to build relationship with a larger team at the Customer Company and in more regular manner. They are available to you every day if you can interest them.
So, how are you going to grow this year and beyond?