Whatever you’re doing right now, if you’re not building—you’re wasting time. Right now, this period of uncertainty has struck both businesses and people hard but it’s not the time to sit on the sidelines and wait for brighter days. Anyone who is doing that right now is wasting time. While businesses need to adapt to this unique moment, they also need to act because right now is the time to build internally and externally for the rebound, and tomorrow’s business landscape.
Everyone, around the globe, was knocked down when COVID-19 hit and it was something that many of us never thought that we would experience in our lifetime—a worldwide pandemic that felt like it stopped the world from spinning. After shuttering businesses and increase social restrictions, companies are starting to come back into the fray more cautious than before because not only is the world market down, but future projections are looking grim. Executives have been tasked with cutting costs within their departments, finding ways to optimize and increase their innovation. This is no small task in business, but dealing with budgets that are being cut in 61% of companies, it makes it even more challenging.
This is exactly why right now is the time to build.
Build what? Everything. From your internal infrastructure to your relationships, it’s time to build it bigger and better, to lay a solid foundation for the future.
Build: Customer Relationships
Your customers are your heartbeat. There’s no question that this is the key area in which you need to invest time. Take the time to listen to customers, find out what they want, what they need—ask questions. Discover what you need to do to keep their trust and their business.
Sugar’s Chief Customer Officer, Chris Pennington, pointed out that you need to be prepared to help those in need but not so much that you forget your bottom line because it’s a balance. Many companies determined what they could do to help those who were negatively impacted by COVID-19 and made changes to their business. While we have made it past the initial shock of the pandemic, it’s not over which means that you need to continually work with what you can to build those customer relationships across the globe.
Increase your touchpoints, communicate clearly, and as needed based on the customer. The important thing is that the investment of time is the value here currently whether it’s through listening to your customers or understanding their needs. Take the steps to implement a customer experience strategy and improve not only the relationships with current customers but set the stage so that you improve your relationships with future customers.
There’s no contest that you need to invest in your customer relationships right now but what about other relationships? Partnerships? Investors? Employees? Right now, is the time to understand where you want to make an impact through what you have internally right now. Customer experience importance is at an all-time high and there is work to be done at every company.
Technology is a daily part of our lives and we cannot successfully complete business without it. Right now, IT teams are looking to cut costs where they can as mandated by boards everywhere because technology is a significant investment but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a viable option for building.
Business-critical technology like CRM, marketing automation, and internal systems are something that can be invested internally. Right now, it is the time to increase your CRM adoption if it’s lacking, to fully embrace your marketing automation platform, to increase your website build to all its avenues—and those are just a few of the ways that you can build your technology. Each one of these platforms, business-critical, adds to your business value in the long run.
You may be considering moving off one vendor to another, if that’s the case, take the time and shop around. Don’t look for the lowest ticketed price, those are sometimes the most expensive in the long run either through add-ons or the fact that they don’t grow with you which will cost you in the long run. Find the platform that will grow with you, enhance your business, and help you to invest in your own business growth. Technology is one of the easiest ways to invest in your company, but it also is one that needs to have the most consideration.
Many companies are freezing hires, but others are expanding—it all depends on where they are in the market right now. Building your team does not have to relate back to headcount, but it is definitely worth investing internally right now through fostering the talent you have and growing the leaders of tomorrow.
At Sugar, our leadership team has pushed and stretched their teams to foster innovation and growth. It’s a balance between motivation and challenge that good leaders know how to do. When you have solid leadership within your own company, you can foster this foundation within your team. Encourage your team to build intra- and inter-departmental relationships because when this is over—working as one organization, in harmony, is going to be evident.
Employees right now, everywhere, are on edge so investing internally is a signal to them that you value them as part of your team. Create a plan that takes care of employees through health, well-being, and internal training to build a team ready for whatever comes in the future.
If you haven’t received the message, it’s build. Build up your business, your brand, your investments, your relationships so that you can be ready for whatever the market sends in the future. Think beyond these points—what else can you do with other relationships? Partnerships? Investors? Employees? Learn that the first step to finding your way through is identifying the optimal solution and implementing it.
You have the tools—build for tomorrow.