People don’t like change very much – we know that for sure. But in business everything is always evolving because the industry is always evolving. Anyone who wanted to stick with the way things were will be surprised this year as COVID-19 completely changed the original paradigm. However, it also presents an opportunity: companies and individuals can evolve into new ways of being. COVID-19 has not only turned the world upside down, it has also turned the accelerated trends that have already occurred, such as the switch to remote working and the collective desire for more convenience (e.g. door-to-door delivery and home haircuts).
However, some founders don’t want much to change. This could be due to a fear of the unknown or a fear that leaving their old business model, which had worked so well for so long, could be disastrous. However, we are at a critical impasse where companies that fail to develop may disappear from the picture. Evolution is a natural part of all of our lives, and our businesses are no exception. Here are some ways to evolve over time, even if you also deal with fear of change.
1. What are your competitors doing?
Every wise business owner keeps an eye on other companies in their industry. This doesn’t (necessarily) mean their competitors, but it’s important to watch out for major changes. For example, when COVID-19 just arrived, many major events received a notice from South by Southwest (SXSW) that they had decided to cancel their annual conference. This helped them stay ahead of the curve.
Notice how the companies in your industry change their offerings, their marketing efforts, and the way they communicate with clients and customers. Not only does this ensure you’re performing the same, but it can also give an indication of what customers want and how you should brand yourself. Companies only make changes when they believe their customers need or want them. This means that most of these decisions are driven by some degree of market research. If you haven’t already done it yourself, other companies’ attention can be an indication of changes that are about to happen.
2. Listen to your customers
In some cases, you will hear from your customers what they need. Take these comments and requests seriously. For example, if you’re a stylist and have recently started offering virtual styling appointments and your clients ask you to create daily style videos instead because they are getting more from them, heed the call. When you do something that isn’t as effective or valuable as it could be, trust that even customer complaints and criticisms can serve your business.
You can open up to this feedback by sending surveys or simply asking customers when you are on the phone. Ask, “What can we do to better serve you during this time?” Take careful notes of their responses and see how you can incorporate their needs into your new business model. Jeanne Bliss noted in Customer Think that to get this right we need to move from trying to validate to trying to understand.
“Surveys can sometimes serve as a validation of points that we have identified as important so that customers can evaluate our performance. Now, those predetermined elements are likely not entirely relevant. The world has changed, as have your customers’ priorities and goals. The companies that emerge fastest, both financially and in terms of the customer memories your business cares about, will find ways to learn and understand your customers’ vulnerabilities, their priorities and where to add value, ”writes she.
3. Double the Marketing
Right now it may seem like the worst time to double up on marketing, but business case studies say otherwise. They sat down with co-founders Peter Beshay & Seth Westphal from Boss Creative Agency on a zoom and shared interesting information with me about it. “When everyone else panicked and stopped marketing to save money wherever they could, companies like Popeyes Chicken continued to push marketing out even though they haven’t been in people for months, and you know what? Your sales has already increased by over 40% compared to the previous year, “said Beshay & Westphal.” They spent more money on advertising and at the same time ensured that their business model complies with the rules of this “new normal”. Not only are they safe now, but they are thriving during the pandemic. “
This story creates urgency regarding the ability to market now, but Beshay & Westphal stresses that your marketing message must be on time. “One of the questions companies have to ask themselves right now is,” Does my branding appeal to my audience the way it should be in today’s world? “He imagined.” What “could have worked” for years may have become completely irrelevant. My personal favorite is the idea that a company will “wait and see” like everything we know goes back to the prepandemic although most analysts believe that consumer behavior has changed forever. “
One thing is certain: in a world that has developed as strongly as this year, nothing can remain the same as ours. While the future remains uncertain, companies can stay ahead by choosing to evolve with an emphasis on creating value for customers.