Business outlook 2020 – Change is on the way
As businesses navigate the waves ahead here is some practical advice for business leaders and their teams to maximise performance.

You know what it’s like, we’ve all been drawn by headlines hoping that somewhere along the way there will be a positive message that we have turned the corner and the outlook ahead holds more promise for business and trade. Well here is the good news… change is on its way, that’s for sure… if your business is ready to embrace those changes through good management, solid business strategy and a flexible approach to sales and marketing then improvement in performance is very much within reach.

1. Good management
The world around us is changing at a faster pace than ever before as we learn to adjust to the new ways of working thrust upon us as a consequence of the global pandemic. We can access the world from our mobile devices at almost any time and any place, so in theory the information available to us should mean we are better equipped than ever before to adapt and succeed. Endless access to web sites, e-books and so-called experts, rather than improve, if anything, seems to have clouded the issue. The world of management can easily become distorted by spin, with unlimited offers from suppliers claiming to be the oracle. This spin of online communications instead of improving our quality of knowledge and expertise has led to an explosion of quantity rather than quality, leaving us with the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ and the challenge of sifting the good from the pack.

A change in approach is needed, we must ensure we have ‘the right people on the bus’ essentially by seeking to attract the quality of management best suited to our business model and its specific needs, or by coaching and development of existing staff aligned to key goals. Experience has shown that all too often management may be expected to perform an ever-increasing range of responsibilities, outside of their strengths, leading to increased hours, stressful working environments, and underperformance. Sound familiar? One effective solution is in supporting in-house teams with a trusted coach to provide tailor-made flexible solutions to maximise performance and achieve their goals.

2. Solid business strategy
Once we have ‘the right people on the bus’, it’s absolutely key that we know ‘where the bus is going’. A solid business strategy isn’t about doing what we have always done. Today’s business outlook, more than ever before, is one of the need to change and adapt. The strategy should be about identifying clear objectives, which provide the business with focus and direction. A solid strategy is supported with a highly focused plan, which doesn’t cover ‘everything but the kitchen sink’, but identifies the vital few things that will make the difference in performance. This may simply be the one, two or three key projects that are key to achieving the objectives.

3. Flexible sales & marketing
Of course in challenging economic times you’d expect nothing less than budgets being trimmed, and for sales and marketing often that results in going back to basics. I’ve heard those who say ‘we’ve stopped spending money on marketing, web sites and advertising and gone back to good old sales or networking online’. ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’.
Well, networking has its place, but in his book, “The Jelly Effect” communications guru Andy Bounds refers to networking like a big net full of big fish (very useful contacts), tiddlers (quite useful) and old boots (no use). The key point here is sales and marketing isn’t just about selling and promoting what we have – it’s about understanding who is our big fish? When we know who they are we need to ask questions like – what do they need? How and when do they need it? Where do they look for it? How can we benefit them? Much of this has already changed in 2020 and is set to continue to change further.

Sales & Marketing needs to continue to evolve and understand what the target looks like. How do you know if your marketing strategy is right? Years ago some businesses were simply throwing jelly hoping that some of it would stick. In 2020 this doesn’t work anymore and businesses must better understand their target markets and ‘how to make their communications stick’.

For more help on business coaching, business strategy, marketing expertise or coaching and development, or for a free introductory business assessment by Zoom contact me by email: leoaspden@reach-mc.co.uk

Book ref: Bounds, Andy: The Jelly Effect – How to make your communication stick. Capstone Publishing.