Adapting your business offering quickly to still be relevant in a changed market – Part two
Recent events have shown that, when faced with sudden and unprecedented change, businesses can indeed adapt quickly and adjust their operations and offering in rapid speed.
In part one of this article, we covered how to spot ways to adapt your business offering to be more relevant to the new market conditions and buyer behaviour, which have arisen in the current crisis.
In this part of the article we discuss how to bring those changes about quickly, so you don’t waste valuable time and miss out on opportunities.
As the speed of change in the current crisis has been so fast, and the nature of that change so vast, it’s important to be as agile as possible in adapting your offering to the market. Here are some agility tips to ensure your efforts are quick and effective.
Check if there are any new restrictions/legislation/regulations you need to comply with for your adapted or new offering. Be clear of these from the start and adhere to them as you create your adapted approach.
Make the most of your people
Redeploy and upskill people to enable you to meet demand where it currently lies. For example, many accountancy firms have been moving teams to help their clients submit applications for Government support, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
If you now need an online store, it will be quicker to get a proven off-the-shelf system up and running, rather than something bespoke. Remember this will be a new area for your business, so an off-the-shelf system is likely to help shorten your learning curve. Here’s a helpful review of different e-commerce platforms.
Work on your website’s resilience
Your organisation’s online presence has obviously become a lot more important in recent weeks. Now’s the time to shore up your website and strengthen its resilience. If you are incorporating plug-ins like Live Chat, adding videos, introducing booking/ordering system, check first your site is strong enough to cope. Call on your IT experts and professionals to avoid unnecessary problems and delays.
Can you cope with demand?
If you are adapting your offering then be sure to assess how well you are set up to cope with demand. Recent examples of the Next online site being brought online, only to be taken down soon after, are a good warning. If you are providing services and expertise, can you redeploy/reskill people in your organisation to ease those departments that are exceptionally busy?
Whilst many customers expect delivery times to be a little longer at present, you don’t really want to overly test their patience and earn your business negative reviews. If you’re moving to an e-commerce offering, assess which shipping/delivery partners you can rely on to meet customer expectations and your company’s profitability margins.
Explore their delivery time KPIs/guarantees performance since the crisis started. Try to meet or exceed customer expectations where possible so be clear in your messaging what timescales to expect.
Test, test, test
Before you launch your adapted offering, it’s important to give it a really good road-test. Testing can involve running a pilot, using a small customer group, asking employees to test different components. This gives you a safe environment to spot the hiccups, and there will be hiccups, before you go live. You want to ensure you eventually launch a smooth and seamless product/service, which is ripe and ready for the current market conditions.
Think digital communications
Of course, you will need to promote your adapted offering and with current restrictions and the speed in which you want to get your message out, that’s going to mean digital communications. When planning your campaign ensure you are creating marketing content that is easily searchable, shareable and supports Word of Mouth recommendations.
Keep your communications concise, make them visual or interactive and ensure they’re positive and engaging in their treatment. Also, don’t forget to harness your loyal customers and contacts to act as ambassadors and amplify your news/offering in their networks. See more tips here.
Reassure people you’re open for business
Make sure your home page is current and signposts any new features, offerings, approaches in view of the COVID-19 landscape. Also don’t forget your listings (and the information you’re able to share via them) on the likes of Google My Business, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Getting it done quickly
Speed is greatly influenced by how ‘on board’ and ‘up for it’ your people are. The good news is there is a greater collaborative mood around. If people feel they can help their organisation survive the current challenges, many will.
Delivery hubs or squads
Consider then dividing your team into delivery hubs or squads to make the relevant changes in different parts of the project. You want as much progress to be made in different areas as simultaneously as possible. Of course, you will need a core team or leader with a high-level view of the whole project – so they can monitor, motivate and drive progress across all the squads.
Play to strengths
When creating squads, play to strengths – but also be sure you know all the wider strengths and capabilities in your team. An employee may have a capability they don’t utilise at work but do in their social life, for example as part of any volunteering they do. Create an open dialogue with your team so you quickly spot and pool all the needed talents, insights and skills for the task at hand.
Map out the route
Make sure everyone is clear at the start about the steppingstones or stage goals in the project and the part they need to play. If appropriate use one of the great project-management tools which will help people visualise the project, the progress that’s being made and what they need to do.
To ensure parts of the project don’t stall or cause problems, maintain regular communication with everyone involved and also within each squad. This is particularly important if the team is dispersed, for example via home working. Any problems which arise need to be tackled quickly and not left to fester. Regular communication helps.
And as employees balance homeworking, childcare/homeschooling and other challenges, you may need to be more flexible in the pattern the working week/day takes. Work can get done, but not always within the traditional 9-5.30 framework. Many new offerings have come about recently because teams have shifted to working in the evening, and even weekends.
Despite the current crisis’ restrictions and challenges, some businesses have demonstrated great agility by successfully adapting their business offering and approach to the new environment. They’ve ensured they do indeed still have a market, as well as a highly relevant and purchasable offering to help safeguard their future.
What was previously thought impossible has proved to be possible in a short space of time. The ingenuity and innovation of businesses is a great lesson to us all.
Can we help?
If you need help reviewing, adapting or promoting your offering in the current market, do get in touch.