(Co-Authored by Tim Scholten & Aaron Schulman)
If the last few years has taught business owners anything, it’s how to quickly adjust and evolve to keep up with all the challenges and changes brought on by COVID and rapidly changing mandates and business disruptions.
Businesses that were nimble were able to respond, adjust and thrive. Businesses that were not either struggled to survive or disappeared all together.
Evolving is the key to the longevity of every business simply because nearly everything in the marketplace changes.
And, as technology continues to influence how markets work and as we continue to race toward a hyper-connected world through handheld devices and social media, it is imperative now, more than ever, that your business knows when to evolve and how to do so rapidly in order to thrive.
Once you own the process we developed in our Market Beating Strategy (™), and truly internalize it, there are virtually no limits to what you can achieve as a team.
We’ve seen it every single time.
But every successful business has a solid foundation in the same elements we teach in the complete Market Beating Strategy (™)
For a review of the previous 6 steps, visit our blog here or our Market Beating Strategy overview page made specifically for business leaders to see what the secret ingredients are in each step.
The final step in this post is called “Evolve”.
We will show you how to own this entire process so that your business is nimble and will always be able to Evolve and remain on the leading edge of change while becoming the envy of your competition.
Some symptoms & signs that your business / team needs to master “Evolve“
-You are stuck with inventory that is obsolete
-You have aging products that haven’t kept pace with competitors
-Your customers are buying more of their products from your competitors
-Your costs are higher than your competitors
-You are losing market share
-Profits are continually elusive
-You have high employee turnover
-Your employees don’t see internal opportunities to grow with the company
After you master the skill of “Evolve” at our Marketing Beating Strategy Workshop, your business will exhibit these characteristics of a thriving business:
-You regularly update your plans when market or business conditions change
-You monitor the competition to stay current with trends
-Customer feedback drives your future plans
-You kill ideas from time-to-time
-You sunset products from time-to-time
-Your customers are buying more of their products from you
-You gain market share
-Your business is growing and more profitable
-People want to work for your company
One case study involves a bank that I worked with during COVID.
They, like most of their peers, were extremely concerned about their ability to survive time impacts of a lockdown and an entire change in how they interacted with their client base.
Employees were no longer able to come in and work.
How would they do their jobs from home?
Would they have all the access and internet speed needed to service clients effectively?
Would clients change their banking behavior?
They also worried how long they could sustain these new working conditions and keep customers let alone employees.
I went to work with this client to help them refocus their loan process to support the Payroll Protection Program as well as several other initiatives that needed to evolve very quickly to handle more volume in a week than they were used to handling in a year.
The opportunity was so huge that it made sense to use this to help this small bank evolve and begin leveraging high tech solutions even though they were small.
The outcome of making an informed decision to evolve their process strategically so that they could leverage this new approach going forward allowed them to produce new loan volume over a 20 day period that doubled the size of their loan portfolio.
Everything had to be considered in order to make that happen.
Everything from customer communications, to every single process involved in making those loans a reality…
that is, doing business digitally instead of in person, etc.
The benefit of that experience is that the bank has been entirely transformed in its approach and thought processes to approaching customer problems and experiences.
This single transformation proved that they could evolve without having their business go off the rails.
Their team now believes in their internal ability to evolve and grow.
That same bank is now 3 times the size they were before the pandemic and multiple times more profitable.
The second case study involves a restaurant that had been a family owned business for over 75 years.
It was passed on to the next generation a couple of times.
Their name had become a local brand name that stood for quality and service.
Over several generations, their facility, menu and operation had gone through small changes but nothing major.
They were very profitable until COVID hit.
As you know, restaurants were hit extremely hard with their workforce incented to stay home with incredible unemployment benefits that were as good, if not better, than their previous paychecks.
Dine-in business disappeared overnight, with only takeout allowed in most areas.
That’s when the owner of this restaurant called and asked for help.
We pulled together a segment of his team to talk about how to evolve the business, not knowing if this would be a temporary or permanent change.
Here is what was changed:
Realizing that getting the experienced help he needed would be difficult to impossible, we focused on a delivery and pick-up friendly menu.
This would be able to be supported by a smaller kitchen staff and a few previous wait staff there to handle the ordering with payment taken at the time of order so customers could simply grab their order and go with maximum social distancing.
They ran regular marketing campaigns with family-friendly specials on a weekly basis.
Then they also invited their loyal customers to buy lunch for essential workers.
They delivered these to local hospitals on a weekly basis and shared their stories online to show how their customers were caring for others during this difficult period.
These are just a few of the innovations and transformations this business made out of necessity to keep operations alive.
With just 20% of their normal staff, they were able to expand their brand recognition and value, remain profitable, and fully restore operations as regulations allowed.
Their loyal customers were even more loyal and their loyal employees even more dedicated.
This approach has allowed them to build a robust pick-up and delivery business that is an ongoing profitable aspect of their operations today.
Their franchise is of more value because they were able to evolve when change was forced on them while other similar restaurants closed.
Although a lot of the major business regulations, shifts and shut-downs of COVID are behind us, the ripple effect on the economy has not been fully realized and may not be for years.
If anything, COVID taught us some hard lessons on having a process that allows us to evolve our business quickly and effectively when major disruptions in the market force change upon us.
What did your business learn from COVID?
Did you evolve or were you already prepared for major disruptions?
How can you be even more prepared for upcoming and unforeseen disruptions to your market, because history tends to repeat itself?
Regardless, what you do now to prepare your business to be fleet and agile will determine if your business survives, or better yet, thrives through evolving when the next major market disruption occurs.
Give us a call for a brief, no-nonsense strategy session and we’ll help you learn how to implement “Evolve” into your business strategy.
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