By Darren Lewitt, a successful entrepreneur from Norfolk
Businesses are having to accelerate their evolution processes in what many are paraphrasing as the ‘new normal’. Whether or not we will return to more familiar working processes over the next few months or years remains to be seen, but one thing that is for sure is that at this point in time the business development processes required to survive and thrive are certainly different.
Do not fear however, now is the time to embrace the word ‘different’. This is the one magical word that sets us all apart from the rest. It elevates us from being normal, it distinguishes us from the crowd and enables us to get to our destinations of choice well before the competitors in our channel.
Being ‘different’ is what you need to focus your efforts into. Now is the time, more than ever before, for you to step back and look at the bigger picture. Start thinking, start creating, start imagining and start asking yourself:
“Just how do I become ‘different’ to everyone else?’
Now is the time, not only to climb outside of your box, but it’s time to tear your box up, burn it and ask yourself some serious questions.
Use every ounce of support around you and become the conductor of your own orchestra. Become the director and the leader that your team deserves. Try and imagine the different sections of your orchestra as your customers, your employees, your friends, your family and your suppliers. Always keep an eye on your competitors in the crowd too because they will be watching your every move. Make sure everyone in your team is on the same wavelength, using praise as an important reinforcement tool. Keep looking at the endless possibilities that lie both within your business and those that are still out there and yet to be tapped into.
I cannot stress enough the importance of a positive mindset. This will provide you and your team with the energy and strength that you need. Keep looking for ways to turn your ‘difference’ into ‘change’ then ultimately you will be successful. ‘Change’ is what comes from all our visionary ideas and ‘change’ manages our evolution process. In short if we don’t continually keep changing and evolve, then how we will ever maintain a competitive advantage over the rest of our channel.
Maximising your 25th hour
I’ve always believed that we all have a creative side to our brains and it is this that helps us reach those important epiphany moments. Do you ever just get settled and have one of those ideas? That’s what I like to call our ‘25th hour’. Just because our work practices and our channels to market have been disrupted, that doesn’t stop us from being imaginative and being good at what we do. Why do you think you are in the position you are in today, with the responsibilities that you have and why do you aspire to be even more successful? Remind yourself that you already have it all and what it takes to be successful. You just might just need some help with your fine tuning. Just because we have some unexpected challenges right now we simply have to rise above them and find a way to remain at the top of our game. Never forget the cream always rises to the top.
A florist I know had to shut her business down because of covid-19 and then when she was preparing to re-open, she had the foresight to see that no one would be willing to come in her shop for a while. So she stepped back and came up with an idea. If they won’t come to me then I will go to them. A mobile florist shop from a converted horse box is now a regular on the village streets of Suffolk and her business has started to thrive again.
Continually ask yourself;
“What is it that your suppliers or indeed yourself are set to launch soon and can you use the covid-19 time as a chance for an exclusive or a competitive edge?”.
Many suppliers will be desperate to sell their stock to creative customers, so providing its right for you, better deals could certainly be there to be negotiated. You just need to find the creative ways to sell them.
An education integrator told me recently that business was good even though Schools were anxious for suppliers to go in and install their IT and Audio Visual equipment. So how did the integrator get around this? They thought ‘differently’ and arranged to do the installations overnight using PPE.
Adapting to Change
Whether you are used to going along to trade shows or having face to face meetings with suppliers and clients, now is the time to evolve and take advantage of working online using platforms like Zoom, Poly and Teams and embrace the opportunities that are still out there.
What Covid-19 had done in many sectors is to accelerate what was perhaps the inevitable. Take the retail sector as an example. Initially the Tesco effect got trumped by the Amazon effect, but rather than standing still many retailers should have been doing more to ‘change’ and evolve with the times. I never understood why all the major retailers never grouped together to produce a virtual shopping centre website experience to ward off the Amazon threat. Many years ago I visualised retailers grouping together to create a website called ‘the shopping mall.com’ which was an on-line version of an American shopping mall. Surely that could have worked, but that was just me thinking ‘differently’.
For you personally I would start asking yourself; just how can we be ‘different’? Can you ‘change’ the way you sell and could you sell more on-line or sell into different territories, using different platforms.? The market is evolving all the time. It used to be just ebay and then came Amazon, followed now by Etsy, Pinterest and instagram and I have no doubt many others will follow.
Continually challenge yourself about using different mediums to increase your sales. We all have a number of choices in business, you can create a niche, get big, continue to evolve or die. I prefer the evolution choice myself.
On a positive note Covid-19 might just provide a way for you to reduce your costs still further and gain a march on your competition. Look at the benefits and plan your way through this new chapter and remember this. No matter what page of your book your business is on right now, providing you continue to evolve, you will ultimately turn the page to a new positive chapter very soon. We just have to accept that things are going to be a little different for a period of time.
I’ve deliberately saved the most important until the end. If you can go the extra mile when others around you are giving up or being negative then there is no reason why you can’t find new ways to stay ahead. If you can adopt the right attitude, imagining that your glass is filling up fast, when others have nothing left in theirs, then you will find a way to navigate yourself through this ‘new normal’.
Always believe in yourself and your team by remembering that ‘change’ is normal and ‘change’ is ultimately what leads us all to become more successful. Always follow your dreams because they know the way.