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Business Lessons, compliments of 2020

#BusinessLessons, compliments of 2020

If there’s something that most companies have in common during economic hardship, it is seeing how fast, forecasts, budgets and action plans can crumble. This unproductive and overwhelming feeling may abruptly derail your future plans but can also foster an opportunity for us to grow and thrive.

Companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Netflix and Mailchimp came up with creative ways to rise above adversity while new businesses like Airbnb and Uber emerged as a result thereof, as we have seen in the past.

What can businesses do to thrive in challenging times?

Let’s have a look at some tips:

Take time to self-reflect

Self-reflection, also known as introspection, is the examination or observation of one’s own character and actions. In business this translates to giving serious thought or consideration to a subject matter relating to your business. This is vital at times. Self-reflection enables us to assess the architecture, patterns, and day-to-day activities to see how actions contribute to success.

Think about what is really going well and what is not working. Think about where you can improve and what have changed. What are the next steps?

Information gathered through self-reflection should align with the business goals and objectives you have set. However, somehow self-reflection manages to reveal any extra baggage that you did not sign-up for, but which are holding you back. Load them off.

Become more agile

Organisations play a vital part in leading others through difficult times. This serves as a valuable way in which to gain business insights and assess the needs customers. Many businesses have had to change the way in which they operate or provide value to customers. They’ve had to embrace a new ‘normal’ due to the changing needs of customers and regulations imposed by the government during 2020.

This means that some of the old rules of doing business no longer apply. It is likely that these rules will probably never apply again.

Agility is the ability to accept that change is going to happen or is happening. It is also the ability to spring into action making sure that this change is adopted quickly and that the business is flexible enough to adapt to it. Be open to new opportunities.

Focus on customer relationships

Customer expectations are higher now than ever before. Customers are much more sensitive about how much they spend and are constantly comparing their experiences. They seek an easy, fast, affordable and personalised experience. The pressure is on for businesses to deliver the most value.

Bain and Co, a global management consulting firm, surveyed 362 firms, and reported that 80% of the respondents believed they delivered “superior experience”, while only 8% of these companies’ customers were in agreement with them.

So, what exactly caused this delivery gap? Two things – losing track of your core customer base when trying to expand into new markets, and secondly, being aware that good relationships are hard to maintain. In fact, it is extremely hard to know what your customers want at all times, so keep the communication flowing between your business and the customer, and then delivering exactly according to their needs.

With that said, it is important to truly take the time to understand and value customer feedback. Be sure to address their pains and using these pains to identify potential gains in the form of new opportunities.

Go on, embrace humor

Laughter certainly is the best medicine. Strive to cultivate a company culture that embraces humor. When we can laugh at our own mistakes, we can recover quicker. That means moving on from our mistakes. This gives us time to focus on our success at hand.

This is also known as resilience, which is an individual’s capacity to bounce back from adversity and to experience personal growth by overcoming negative effects.

It is believed that laughter strengthens relationships, promotes teamwork, and reduces conflict. The added bonus according to research is that humor can help people be more creative in problem solving. A lightened mood is so important to encourage creativity, problem solving and teamwork – all skills that any business can benefit from during difficult times.

You get to choose the glasses through which you see life and business lessons learnt.