Throw Out Your Business Plan and Pivot

If this current pandemic has taught us anything at all, it’s that putting together a 3 to 5 year business plan is a total waste of time, energy and money. If this current pandemic has taught us anything at all, it is that our crystal ball is a little murky and it’s impossible to predict the future. Burying your head in the sand and waiting for it to be over is not the answer. What this current pandemic has taught us is that those who learn to pivot have a better chance of having a future.

Worth Remembering … “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln

Restaurants expanded their patio to provide outdoor dining and encouraged customers to order online for curbside pickup or have it delivered to their door. They reduced their indoor dining area to create a safer environment for their customers and their staff.

Manufacturing companies retooled to produce and sell personal protective equipment. Distilleries used their expertise in making spirits to make sanitizer. Clothing manufactures switched over to making masks and garments.

Small businesses have had to change their flow patterns to help their customers social distance and they put up plexiglass barriers to protect their staff. Administrative and sales people started working from home and connecting online.

Worth Remembering … “A pivot is a change in strategy without a change in vision.” – Eric Ries

What this current pandemic has taught us is that the future, although not ideal, can be brighter if we learn to look for the possibilities. A basketball player learns to pivot, not to give up on their chance of scoring a basket, but to change direction and give themselves a clearer path to reach their goal. Conditions have changed. Throw out your business plan and pivot.

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com

How to Create a Competitive Advantage

The only competitive advantage you have is the level of customer service you provide, and if you aren’t delivering exceptional customer service then you put yourself and your organization at a distinct disadvantage. Chances are you won’t be in business very long. Think of your own experiences. When was the last time you had exceptional customer service? I mean eye-popping, wow service. How did that make you feel? When was the last time you had terrible, so-so service? The kind of service that made you decide never to do business with that company again. 

Worth Remembering … “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” – Zig Ziglar 

What is it going to take for you and your organization to be exceptional? The 4-P’s – Price, Product, Promotion and Place are no longer relevant. The internet and social media have created a level playing field. Now no business is too big to fail. We can name a number of companies like Sears who thought they were. Going far beyond the call of duty, exceeding your client’s expectation; that is what exceptional service is all about.

Worth Remembering … “If you want to succeed at any job, make yourself invaluable. Go the extra mile; make them never to be able to imagine doing business with anyone else but you.” – Ross Mathews

Every time you do business with your clients is a test. Make sure everyone on your team is up for the challenge. Every time your clients do business with you, they are comparing you against your competitors. If you are going to be exceptional then you have to be better than your competition. You have to remain one step ahead. Never compete on price, someone is always willing to sell for less. Find out what your clients value the most and deliver on that every time you do business with them. That’s how you create a competitive advantage.

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com or contact him directly at – brian@briansmithpld.com

Clearing Out The Deadwood

Jack Welch knew how to win. During his illustrious career at General Electric, he spearheaded GE’s rise to a multi-billion dollar a year powerhouse. His “Be-the-Best” style of management became the gold standard in business. If you haven’t read his book “Jack Welch – Winning” be sure to add it to your list of must-reads. I promise you won’t be disappointed. His book offers deep insights, original thinking and solutions to problems all managers and business leaders need to come to terms with in today’s ever-changing, ultra-competitive environment.

Worth Remembering …  “Don’t manage – lead” – Jack Welch

What are you doing to clear out your deadwood? For whatever reason, we all have or have had deadwood problems that we’ve ignored. Those are the people in your organization who aren’t pulling their weight. They’re not bad – but they aren’t great performers either. They are just so-so. Jack had a 70-20-10 rule when it came to his employees. Every year, as part of their annual review, managers were asked to identify the 70% of their staff that they wanted to keep – the 20% they were going to promote up and out of their department and the bottom 10% that they were going to let go.

Worth Remembering … “When you become a leader, success is all about growing others” – Jack Welch

Letting the bottom 10% go – the deadwood – is not necessarily a bad thing. You may be doing them a favour. You’ve given them the opportunity to sit back, think about what they would really like to do, and you’ve given them the time to put a plan together to get there. You’ve helped motivate them to make a change or you’ve motivated them to do whatever they need to do to get into that 70% bracket. Either way – your department or organization is better for it. Promoting from within is never a bad thing. If you don’t – you are taking a chance that you won’t lose your top 20% to your competition.  Are you looking to try something different this year? Try Jack’s annual 70, 20, 10 rule and clear out your deadwood.

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com or via email – brian@briansmithpld.com

Your Only Competitive Advantage

Product, price, promotion or place is no longer a competitive advantage. The only competitive advantage that you have left is the level of customer service you provide. To provide exceptional customer service is not that difficult. You only have to be better than your competition. Based on the results of a recent survey of 1281 consumers it doesn’t appear to be that big of a deal. 55% of the respondents said that they would shop elsewhere because of a “don’t care attitude”. 35% said being ignored by a sales person while they carried on a personal conversation on the sales floor or on the phone would be a good enough reason to leave. 58% of those surveyed sited rudeness as a reason to go elsewhere. 42% would go out of their way to do business where they got polite, respectful treatment. Let me repeat that again. 42% would go out of their way to do business where they got polite, respectful treatment. What level of customer service are you providing? More importantly, what lever of customer service is your sales team providing? Remember – to be exceptional in the eyes of the consumer you only have to be better than your competition.

Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com