Last time we looked at the Zombie apocalypse, and the one thing that certainly hasn’t changed since August is that all areas of life appear to still be uncertain.
We have falling employment, but increases in consumer spending. Record numbers of people deferring mortgage payments, yet housing approvals growing. Even the Americans didn’t seem to be able to decide on which septuagenarian to place their trust in as President last week…although some would have thought that wasn’t such a hard choice either! Apparently we can’t have a “new normal” until we have a vaccine, but large parts of the medical establishment are sceptical we will ever manage to develop a fully effective vaccine.
In between times the Australian government has delivered a budget to outline our “Economic Recovery Plan”. The government says it has a budget and a plan, do you? Can you?
The answer really is an annoying one - can you afford not to?
The one thing that is certainly the wrong thing to be doing is sitting and waiting for something to happen. There are indeed a lot of uncertainties around at the moment, but one thing is certain if you do nothing you are going to end up with nothing.
There is evidence of people spending money; there are businesses recruiting more team members; the government and the RBA are pushing hard to make money available for business investment. I was even talking to a friendly banker the other day who was pushing hard for some of his customers to invest more in their businesses (with a loan from their friendly banker of course!) to get themselves back on track for success. He has a really good point.
If your business was already on a good course before the truly annus horribilis of 2020 started, then you are probably still in a good position to get through 2021 and beyond. Do you still have a good team around you, selling a good product, to a good set of customers? Then that is certainly what you still need in a business to get started, and be able to continue. We would of course recommend that you also need good leadership with a good plan, and the right systems to make the most of it, but starting with the first 3 is the key.
The challenge is understanding which ones of your key 3 have changed, or need to change, or indeed have stayed the same. This is going to take good leadership, some sensible advice based on the data available and a good plan to deliver the results. The workplace is currently in a huge state of flux, with empty offices and full homes all over Australia. This, alongside the shift away from international travel and large scale entertainment, is changing what products people are keen to buy, and how they want to buy them. Finally all of this is also having an impact on customers, who are going to be seeking better value, more seamless online interactions, yet often more personalised service.
Yes that sounds like even more uncertainty. However people are still people. They have much of the same wants and needs as they always had, and probably always will. Most of what is changing is how we interact with our people - be they our team, our customers or our suppliers. It is still the case that if you can add value to your customers’ lives, then you will be able to sell your products - you might just need some help with how to better communicate with them and then deliver to them. Similarly how you interact with your suppliers may also need to adapt, as will the way you lead and motivate your team in a lot of cases.
None of this is easy, but it is also far from impossible. There are businesses thriving at the moment. Some by good luck, a lot by sheer hard work and refusing to stand, watch and wait. Some of these business that are thriving will be your competitors, can you afford to sit much longer in the harbour, waiting for the fog of uncertainty to lift, or is it time to get back out there in the open ocean, heading off for the next destination?
As good old Dr Seuss maintained, even faced with great uncertainty of choice: “you have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose”.
So what are you waiting for?