Have you concluded that you really should expand the definition of (what you call) “your market”?
Instead of diving in to try to reach millions of people you don’t know, try a technique called PEGGING to expand your reach based on your customers’ preferences.
My father is now in his late 80s and has been fully retired for several years now, but he is physically active and mentally alert. He’s an avid fan of the Washington Redskins so the “mentally alert” part might be questionable (just kidding).
So one question is should he try to learn how to surf the Internet, send/receive email, have a texting function on his cell phone, and/or be part of Skype video phone calls? Most of the time, he feels like the window of opportunity for him to learn how to use a computer “has passed him by, it’s too late for him to take all of that on, and it’s just not worth the effort.” Is he right? His grandchildren (and children) would LOVE to be able to interact with him more often without having to spend so much time and money traveling long distances to visit him. He’s convinced that if people really want to be with him, they will recognize that, at this point in his life, everyone should come to him. I know some home based solo practitioners who sound like my father when it comes to social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).
Your long term employees may feel the same way when asked to participate in strategic planning, help change the business model, relocate, or learn new skills. Even during a recession, there needs to be enough incentive (a really good reason) for people to face the unknown, learn new skills, and pick up speed. There’s a great deal of comfort involved with knowing what you are doing. Who likes to feel stupid or embarrassed?
When your business is engaged in a significant change, we all need to try to spell out the “what is in it for me? (WIIFM).” No news there, right? But then watch peoples’ reactions. If you think you have provided good opportunities and reward for folks to learn, grow, try, stretch….and some clearly choose to opt out…it’s time for career development discussions. No one has to be miserable. Leaving non- learners in place is a disincentive to the people who are stepping up.
As a year winds to an end, many of us become reflective. How did we do this year? Did we accomplish enough? Why didn’t we even start that project we have been talking about for months? How come we aren’t doing a little better by now? We have great products. We invested in technology. Our marketing campaigns seem creative. The economy still isn’t strong, but customers in our sector are still buying. Why aren’t we getting more? Are we having fun yet?
The past 18 months may have set your company back in more ways than just reduced access to capital.
Most businesses have symptoms of at least mild post traumatic stress disorder at this point. Think about how people act and feel following a disaster like a hurricane or fire. How about when a family member has had a serious illness or an accident takes the life of a loved one. Post traumatic stress disorder impacts health, creativity, productivity, outlook, attitude …. everything.
Think for a minute about the behavior of your employees. Are they focused more on themselves than customers? Are they still worried about their job security, pay, and benefits? Do your team members feel free to laugh or has everything become too serious for that? Are you hearing wild, ambitious, creative ideas or are folks playing it safe? When things go wrong, is the inclination to look for whom to blame?
You would know to reassure, build confidence, celebrate one another, and be helpful if a friend of yours just experienced a traumatic event like fire or illness. Do you need to bring a bit of that attitude to your company now?
When you are able to effectively help team members move past post traumatic stress disorder, don’t be surprised if more optimistic goals are considered when you do your strategic planning together.