Our success so far in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic does not suggest that we have wiped it out or have a cure for it; we have only adapted to its tendencies and are gradually controlling its spread. Sometimes you will not have a solution for every situation, but the wisdom to navigate around them will make you outlast them.
We have had to change our ways and do things differently in order to triumph over this virus. People say change is the only constant. In business, individuals and companies which are most flexible are able to win and control their markets.
Former world-largest vendor of mobile phones, NOKIA, succeeded in reinventing itself in its over 150 years of operation. You perhaps know the company for only making mobile phones; you are not far from right. Interestingly, to stay relevant over these years, NOKIA has been strategic in responding to new market trends and innovations, and the general interplay of demand and supply.
To mention a few, the giant phone company is profiled as being into many businesses, including: typewriters, mini-computers, respirators for civilians and military, and even toilet-paper. As an individual or a business, what do you need to consider in order to constantly get a fair share of the market? Here are a few suggestions:
- Nothing equals nothing – The magician syndrome
At this stage of your existence, I doubt you still believe that time alone makes things better. You mostly hear people say ‘with time, it will get better’. Well, unfortunately, that is not true; with time it gets worse. How? Why?
Usually, without any conscious inputs to them, things don’t remain the same as they are. Your business will not simply become better in the next few years if you do not take deliberate efforts to move it from its present stage to the next stage. If you do nothing, nothing happens. That’s the magic! Don’t be caught in its syndrome. In fact, if you leave your business the same way it is today and do nothing about it, things will only get worse with time. You can run into bankruptcy, your staff will resign rapidly, and your business will be no more.
You need to decide to move your business to the next level. Each day, do something that makes your company better than it was yesterday. What can you do today to make even the slightest difference in your company? With the pace at which the world is moving and the rate at which things are changing very fast, it should not surprise you that clients may not even know you exist if you stay in your old-school way of doing business.
- Intentions are useless
Whatever you don’t use, you lose. You may have attended many classroom and online courses to learn new things to make your life and business better. You may have paid for those courses with either your time or money – or both. How are you applying them to what you do?
Information is very important; it is an enabler. However, what progress will your business see if you keep all that knowledge you read in books, learn from YouTube and get from the coach in your head? If you know it, show it and do it. Yes, learn new things; but the changes you are seeing all around you are all things that people are doing from new things they learnt. They have escaped from a certain mindset; that is how come you can see, use or benefit from them.
You have imagined for long. You have long had plans and goals for your business. You have done all the performance appraisals and strategy retreats. Now, you have to show what you have learnt. Results are triggered by implemented concepts and not by a store of information. The best way to learn is to do. Clarity is established as you initiate your ideas; they begin to take the right shape and form as you work on them. You even begin to gain a better understanding of them, none which you will get at the idea stage.
As you work things out, you sharpen your accuracy and depth of them more than you would do if they were simply intentions, information and/or ideas.
- Strategy of hawkers
If you are a tailor and there is a boom in the use of face masks, don’t keep on sewing clothes and display them on your dummies; you are just emptying your bank account. Why? Sewing clothes is what tailors have always done, right? Well, not if the market has changed and hawking is the ‘new normal’!
Successful hawkers are not attached to the products they sell; they are careful students of the inquiries and purchases of consumers. If this hawker is selling doughnuts today and realises that the meat-pie business is topping the game, s/he will simply stop going for another supply of doughnuts. The next time you see him/her, s/he will have been well-branded and adapted to selling their meat-pie. Visit the same spot in few months and you will find them selling bread; a solid strategy.
Think they lack focus? No, they are wisely applying mobility of labour; they really have nothing to lose by selling another product. All they probably have to do is to complete the sale of the current batch of items they have and switch to the next one. They are their own resources. Hawkers are concerned about productivity and results. The successful hawker thinks down the utility chain. Will selling the new product help them put food on the table? Can they sell faster than previously? Will it help them save more than they currently do?
Giant companies have come crashing down simply because they were attached to their products and services and got stuck to their old ways of doing business. Vision and mission can remain unchanged, yes – but strategy and its implementation need to be as flexible as possible to keep this mission and vision alive.
Churches that are optimising social media and digital payment options are almost becoming more powerful than they used to be. Rightly so, because to say the least they are still effective and serving the core message of salvation to their congregants. Event-planning and organising companies that were seriously doing outdoor programmes have had to quickly convert parts of their offices to studios and get businesses and churches to record there. Almost every single radio or television programme is live on social media now. Wondering why?
Successful hawkers stick to their core values but are creative in how they reach their target. When the going gets tough, the tough get going – so it is a make or break for you and your business in this season we find ourselves in. It is survival of the fittest now, so jump on the bandwagon of hawking and let’s rock it together!
Observe the health and safety protocols and apply counsel amid the easing of restrictions.
>>>The author is a corporate trainer and professional ghost-writer assisting busy executives to write and publish their books, articles and speeches. He has served as Head of Protocol at a diplomatic mission, Corporate Affairs Officer at a French multinational agribusiness and as Events and Media Correspondent for a digital ad agency. You can contact the author via [email protected] and [email protected]