SmartCompany held a very interesting seminar recently, and I was asked to address the subject of how to maintain focus in tough times – I have given this a lot of thought and it seems to me that our capacity to maintain focus is dependent on a number of factors: Our purpose and the strength of our purpose
If we are truly committed to the purpose of our business, we can work through the good and bad times – probably in the same way we can work through an important relationship or marriage.
Nothing in life is without challenges – the determining factor about how we deal with these challenges comes back to our goals or purpose and our commitment around that.
An attitude of optimism
The old glass half empty-half full – how we see the world will affect the gusto with which we face challenges, and the way we lead our teams. As a CEO it is critical that the glass is half full and that we lead with enthusiasm and positivity.
Tough times are times of opportunity
If this is our view of the world we will seek and find opportunity while our competitors flounder! Even if market demand overall drops, unless we have 100% market share we still have the opportunity to increase our market share in a smaller market!
Customer benefits must always be a primary focus
Even more so in challenging economic times, customers become very choosy about the way they spend their money when uncertainty is pervasive. So a focus on service and points of difference and customer benefits become extremely important.
Staff involvement/ buy-in
When there is gloom and doom spreading around us, we need to have a team of people truly committed to our purpose and to our customers. Clear and positive communication with our team is vital – training training training and more training. The more knowledgeable, the more business we can do.
Marketing and sales
Wherever you have to cut your budget, make sure it’s everything but sales. And if marketing is critical to your business, equally don’t touch your marketing budget – just make sure it’s really working for you!
This is the time you can really assess what works and what is wasted, who is working and bringing in the business and who is not contributing. I can’t emphasise the importance of having great sales people. I am stunned at how little effort is put into training salespeople, particularly in retail. The opportunity to engage the customer in-store is so powerful and yet I see so little of that happening – opportunity lost!
My experience of past market downturns has always been that of opportunity, challenge and stress should be used positively to make us more creative, more aware and responsive to our customer needs – this can only mean more business!
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Marcia’s latest book, High Heeled Success (pictured right), and is a frank account of building a business from a solitary sales person to a multi-million dollar business with 4700 sales consultants around Australia and New Zealand. Contact Marcia to purchase. Marcia’s latest venture is skin care company griffin+row.