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The Opportunity is 8 Steps Away

As most company leaders struggle to keep their businesses alive, there are eight steps you can take today to ensure a brighter future.

We understand the fear and worry; wondering if you'll be able to keep the lights on. It's natural. The problem is, it doesn't help. In fact, working to hold onto the company you've built will put you even further behind in a post-pandemic world.

A better use of your time and energy is using a part of your down-time to become a better company; ready for the next, new normal. Keep fighting to get through but carve out just a little time to put 8 ideas to work for the brightest future of your business.

Before Covid-19 stole the focus of our day-today, we were in the middle of a global transformation from the way business was done into the early 2000s to how it will be done in the 2030s and beyond. The daily chaos we were all experiencing was the impact of people (your customers and prospects) all changing at different speeds.

In its simplest form, we're moving from the, "Company First" times of the 80s and 90s where shareholder value and out hustling competitors determined success to a "Customers' Success First" world where your company's success will follow that of its customers.

The losers will be those companies that talk but don't walk. Every leader who claims his/her company is customer-focused, consumer-centric or any from a long list of marketing BS will find themselves grinding out a slow death. In the new world, what you actually do will count far more than what you say and your company's success will depend on its ability to deliver its customer's success first. Period.

Like it or not, the global business transformation has only accelerated over the past six months as people go online to search and buy items that are the best solutions for them and companies have been forced to realize that remote employees can be every bit as productive.

So if you can, ease your hand off the panic button for a few minutes each day and think about building your company towards the way the world will be rather than how it was.

Let's all bury every bit of conventional business wisdom we've ever heard.

Instead, think personalization over universal solutions. Think transparency over marketing messages. Think of what you love doing more than anything and what your the very best at doing. Those are usually the same.

Then focus on that and follow these eight steps:

1. Live with purpose.

What do you do" How do you do it? For whom do you do it.

Narrow the "for whom" to be laser focuses. The goal is to help those looking for what you do, find you and tell their like-minded friends about you.

2. Commit to one audience

Forget trying to convince the world that everyone can use what you do. Concentrate on driving the success of people who value it and are willing to pay full price for what you love doing.

3. Hire the right people

Rather than believing the most experienced people will help drive your success, accept that people who share you and your customers' vision, passion, values and beliefs will have a far greater impact on your customers' and your company's success. Then put a real hiring plan together to find/identify them.

4. Compete only with yourselves

By focusing on what you love doing and do better than any other company, competitors become irrelevant. Focus only on beating yesterday. Compete to bring a higher level of service every day.

5. Have one goal at a time

Choose one inspiring and unifying goal that gets everyone focused on moving toward a single point on the horizon. If you have the right people, they will rally to get you there.

6. Innovate your offering

Never settle. Keep improving every aspect of what you do. Beating yesterday demands a focus on innovation.

7. Marketing becomes proof of commitment

Think less about "marketing" and more about proving through demonstration. Stop trying to guess what people want to hear so they'll buy and think more about showing your commitment to your customers' success is real. Offer help without strings. Share information freely. And remember, your employees are part of your audience because it all begins with you, the CEO.

8. Measure what matters

Forget about CYA measurements. Did you move towards your goal? If not, what aspects slowed you down and how will you remove the friction. Everyone wins or loses together. Everyone wants to bring this shared vision to life.

So that's it. Most of these steps can be started today. You can begin implementation quietly, or share them with members of your team.

The key to success is in your commitment and discipline to driving all eight steps at all times. You will want to compromise by grabbing some easy business or allowing an "exception," here and there. Just understand that every compromise leaves some of your company's potential on the table and you'll never get it back.

So don't.

Stay true to who you are and want to be. Everyone who shares your passion is watching, ready to follow your lead. Set the example and become the business you dreamed of becoming even as we move through this.

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