Do You Need To Downsize?

 In All, Rural Sales

In times like this you need a lean and mean business machine.

You have to cut all waste from your system.

It’s become apparent there was a lot of fat floating around.

Unnecessary business trips, countless unproductive meetings, too many middle managers, super crap conferences and commercial property not needing to be used as much as we thought.

Leaner and meaner means better and stronger.

Like a boxer, you want plenty of muscle to pack a punch regardless of your weight division.

Being too low in water makes you more likely to become unstable or worse, sink. You need to be streamlined and high above the watermark cutting though the waves if you and your rural business model are to succeed.

What ways cay you downsize?

It starts with working out clinically and unemotionally what’s essential and non-essential for your rural business. 

A bit like when we think about what we’re doing.

The question becomes quite simple: does it make a difference?

The answer then becomes easy: don’t do it if it doesn’t.

Now really is the time to get back to basics:

  1. Are you using the appropriate providers? Do you really need that big swanky city-based agency with their big salaries and overheads that appease your ego when a local, smaller or independent one will work just as well and make your CFO much happier?
  2. Do you have too many Chiefs and not enough Indians? Middle management was there to help you when you needed it but now it could be adding an unnecessary layer. You know you now need to get your hands dirty again spending time on the tools, just like you used to before this all happened
  3. Do you really need all those subscription services when you know deep down there are only a few that will do and suffice? 
  4. Have you worked on deep customer segmentation realising you are over-servicing some at the cost of under-serving others?
  5. Is paid media working for you when owned and earnt media can work just as well, if not better?

A timely reminder from the wise that strips things down to its essentials comes from Management Guru Peter Drucker:

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”

  • What ways are you improving your marketing machine? (SEO, opt in forms, email sequencing, lead magnets, educational-based content) 
  • How are you using this time constructively to produce more ideas to innovate?
  • Where are you adapting to changes in customer behaviour?
  • How are you making sure you stay close to your customers?
  • If you’re not looking at ways in which you can improve your rural business you are giving yourself less of a chance. 

Businesses are changing from bricks and mortar to online overnight. Good on them. You can do the same.

They are giving themselves their best chance because they realise business has changed and they have to change with it.

“Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful” – Warren Buffett 

Bankrupt, bailed out or bought, you as a rural business need to keep moving forward to make and take the opportunities that will come about.

What you do now will make or break you in the coming months keeping you ahead of your competitors. You will need to act fast before others wake up (and most will wake up slowly). 

My best advice is to double down on what you know works.

My top 5 would be:

– owned and earnt media (create more content than you consume)

– sales training (every sale is going to be essential and you’re only as good as your people)

– brand purpose (your why will become your everything)

– customer insight (stay close to your customers and assume nothing)

– digital acceleration (traditional models are being murdered)

Some businesses are going to flourish and some are going to fail.

A lot of their fate will have a lot to do with their business owner’s mindset.

They will either see COVID-19 as a threat or as an opportunity. Will they thrive or just try to survive?

I also believe we’re not looking ahead far enough. We’re only focussing on the here and now which is myopic at best.

The road to recovery will be hard and steep. The actions you take now will make all the difference so this is why you have to double down and not lose your nerve.

Keep pressing forward with the activities you know are most important to generating cash.

Time you got creating and making – whilst you kill the rest.

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