As I write, we’re in week six of lockdown and I want to share something that’s really struck me over these past few weeks - just how much of pretty much every business owner’s focus, has been on marketing and sales.
Of course that’s sensible - we all need to do what we can to generate revenue and develop new income streams to help us accelerate out of this shadow we’ve all been under, back into the light. But so much of everyone’s effort seems to be going into marketing - new online platforms, new lead magnets, shiny new brochures for innovative new products - that I have to ask:
What happens when this all works?
When I was hiring my first sales person, Rob, the guy who was helping me, asked me: ‘How much business do you want? Once the taps are turned on it’s hard to turn them off, so how much business can you cope with?’
And I’m asking you the same question. What happens when all your new marketing pays off; when you have that wonderful influx of new and returning customers; when your brilliant new marketing has people knocking down your door?
What will break first?
Your on-boarding system? Your delivery system? Your team? You?
What are you doing right now to prepare your operation for life beyond Covid?
Have you mapped your customer journey for the ‘new normal’, for example?
Or identified and developed the training your team will need to deliver that new journey effectively? Do you have a training system that’s focused on your one right way to do everything?
If you need to take on more people to deal with the influx of orders, is your hiring system right? Is your probation system strong? Are you confident you won’t make mistakes by hiring in a hurry and then end up paying for those mistakes down the line?
My mum had an expression, ‘All fur coat and no knickers’ - and I wonder how many businesses will be living up to that saying, coming out of lockdown.
How many business owners will have been so focused on the ‘packaging’ that they haven’t spent any time or focus on the quality of what’s inside? A bit like Dorothy pulling back the curtain to reveal the truth behind the ‘great and powerful’ Wizard of Oz.
Sales and marketing are amazing but the delivery of your customer experience has to be as magical and delightful as the hype.
If what comes after great marketing is amazing - systemised, consistent and a wonderful experience - your clients will tell their clients, their friends, their colleagues, and soon you’ll be enjoying referrals, repeat sales and customers for life.
But if it’s not…
So I really want you to take some time, while you have it, to think about what you need to put in place; to think about your operation; to take a step back and take a helicopter view of your whole business; to think about what will break first…and fix it.
What’s under your fur coat? What’s behind your curtain?
Thanks for reading. Stay safe!
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)