When Her Majesty the Queen referred to 1992 as her “annus horribilis” she was referring to the year in which three of her children’s marriages collapsed – including Prince Charles’ to Princess Diana – and the fire that severely damaged her Windsor Castle home.
2020 has been a similar year for business owners three lockdowns (tier 3 restrictions are a lockdown of sorts – especially to the hospitality sector) and an exit from the European Union that could inflict severe damage to many businesses.
2021 however could be a different story – but you must plan how you are going to be successful.
Of course, the recovery won’t happen overnight, but I firmly believe it will happen. My guess would be that we will start to see those proverbial ‘green shoots’ towards the end of spring when temperatures start to climb – along, I hope, with confidence.
So, I thought I would highlight the three things you could be doing throughout the first quarter of 2021.
Speak to your existing clients about how their needs have changed
Many businesses have had to totally changed how they service their customers and clients in 2020, as well as the way they operate. This means that some of their needs will have changed. If you’re a larger business with a sales team, find out from your team what your clients are saying.
If you’re a smaller business, take the time to either speak to your clients or use a survey tool such as surveymonkey to try to gage what they are thinking.
Decide how your business can best satisfy those needs
If the needs of your clients have changed, you will need to decide how (or if) your business can best satisfy their needs. If their needs remain roughly the same but with minor adjustments required at your end. It may be that their requirements have changed so significantly that you need to renegotiate the terms
Sometimes needs change so much that you will need to decide if you can still support them at all. Changes may be required in the structure of your business, in the processes that run your business, or the agreements you have with your own suppliers (if their volumes drop, any discounts you receive from your suppliers could be affected).
If most of your clients are telling you their needs have changed, you will want to re-assess your own place in the supply chain and decide how you are to move forward as a business.
Communicate your decisions to both existing and prospective clients
Once you know what you need to do in 2021, you will want to market this to your clients and prospects.
Above all else, ensure you are talking about how you can make their lives better and keep it simple. Decide on the channels you are going to use, the major talking points you want to communicate and then repeat your cores messages across all the marketing channels you use.
Whatever you do, don’t leave 2021 to fate. Fate is a terrible writer, so co-write the year ahead with fate and make your own luck!
Paul McCartney is Managing Director of eBusiness Coaching.