Businesses are facing major changes in the way they operate and the way they interact with clients, partners and suppliers. These changes, which are rooted in uncertainty, often challenge our business confidence as leaders at the highest level.
Business confidence and optimism are essential to stability and healthy, continuous growth. So when it comes to the economy, business leaders need to understand that they are the engines driving their own economy. Always remember this: The market doesn't happen to you; you happen to the market!
In times like we're facing now, companies can't afford to have a lack of confidence in their leaders. They need to know who will lead them when things might be the darkest and most difficult. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, the single biggest indicator of a company's ability to survive and thrive in turbulent times is its leadership. Effective leadership is so important these days, and a company's leader can be a true source of strength during difficult times. Your team doesn't expect you to have certainty about everything, but they need to be able to have confidence in your ability to navigate this time of uncertainty.
In the face of uncertainty, many companies have already been paralyzed by fear — either they don't know what to do next, or they do know, but they can't act on it. As a result, they continue to be stuck. Below are a few areas of focus to help you remain confident during these uncertain times.
Focus on your strengths
Every leader and company is unique, but we all have a similar set of challenges that we face as we build our businesses. One of those challenges is deciding what to focus on. Too many people spend way too much time jumping from one implementation idea to the next. Often, they never get past the first step of a new sales process or revamp of the price book because they lose focus and jump to the next important (but not as impactful) distraction that comes across their desk. We hear more and more in the marketplace that companies are feeling a bit lost. They feel that they really don't know what to do next. The answer is simple: Get refocused on your goals and be the very best at what matters most.
Simplifying business processes is one of the top ways to cut costs and increase profits. So what does that mean in practice? In most cases, businesses that focus on making their processes simpler tend to have fewer headaches, less bureaucracy, and, ultimately, greater profit. Sounds great, doesn't it?
People really don't like complexity, especially in the trades. The more complex a process or system is, the harder it is to understand and the more likely people are to procrastinate or simply avoid it altogether. Make your processes as simple as possible, and you'll see sales and conversions skyrocket.
Maximize all opportunities
Maximize all sales opportunities in a given situation or environment. Make sure to optimize all aspects of your interaction with your prospective clients or leads, such as what you say, the way you say it, and how you ask questions. This may seem like common sense, but it's not always common when the economy has been as good as it has for the last decade or so.
Maximizing opportunities doesn't mean to try and do everything. It means finding the most efficient use of your time and resources. Maximizing opportunities means finding and taking advantage of all the ways you can bring consistent, effective results to your business. This includes opportunities to make sales in the field, internal and external marketing, follow-up processes like outbound calling, etc. You have so many opportunities, but you must get clear and focused on the ones that make the biggest difference. As W. Clement Stone said, "Little hinges swing big doors."
One of the most overlooked parts of any organization is its training and development programs. In order to gain market share and stay ahead of the competition, or even remain healthy during a downturn, a company must invest in team member growth. There are many ways that you can boost training at your company. Start by creating more opportunities for your team to be involved in training. Commit to it, and don't allow the call board or schedule to get in the way of consistent and results-improving training.
As leaders, we pretty much all love training — the learning experience itself is often its own reward. The problem is that not everyone does. This is why all training must incorporate some form of motivation, fun, and tangible experience. Most team members have a natural aversion to training, so you'll need to address it head-on. Focus on selling the problem first. Share the areas of the business you're looking to improve, as well as what's in it for them when this improvement takes place. This can range anywhere from more money to better benefits, to new and improved equipment, or even simply job security.
In times like we're facing now, companies can't afford to have a lack of confidence in their leaders. They need to know who will lead them when things might be the darkest and most difficult. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, the single biggest indicator of a company's ability to survive and thrive in turbulent times is its leadership.
Celebrating small wins is another huge area that can boost your productivity and efficiency in the workplace. The idea behind micro-wins is that success breeds success, so when you achieve a small victory – no matter how small – you should feel proud. These small wins can include anything from learning a new process to mastering a new skill to accomplishing a certain task. The goal here is to keep your team motivated and inspired so they don't get stuck in the boredom of sameness day after day.
We ask a lot from our team, and it's far too easy to overlook the micro-wins as we are focused on the big goal or hitting the annual budget. People want to win. They need to feel appreciated. As leaders, this is our opportunity to help them feel great about the hard work they do.
In the face of uncertainty, it is often a good idea to ask yourself the following questions. Are you prepared? What do you need? What are your priorities? What would you like to achieve? Do you know how to deliver? If your answer is "yes" to all of the above, it is time to start doing something. Start planning for what's ahead. Make a plan and start acting on it. A business resilience strategy is key to ensuring your financial and operational strength as business conditions change. The only thing you can control is your future. Make sure it's a future you desire by taking the right actions and maintaining your confidence today.
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