Anyone else enjoy the breath of fresh air Tony Alexander offered last week when he shared his economic predictions for NZ?

Tony is a well-respected NZ economist and, if you haven’t already, I recommend checking out his latest economic update.  Much like the sentiment Grow NZ has been sharing over the past few weeks, Tony’s view is there is a wealth of opportunity for NZ business to grow as we transition into our post-COVID way of life.

His glass-half-full approach comes on the back of a survey revealing 29% of respondents plan to spend more in the coming months specifically to help out the business sector, with 28% admitting that money they were planning to spend overseas, will now be spent locally to fuel the NZ economy.  In short, there’s a lot of goodwill out there for kiwi SMEs. While Tony doesn’t doubt an inevitable downturn in the medium term, it needn’t be doomsday for those who play their cards right, as he predicts an upturn at some point next year as part of a proper cyclical surge in spending.

So, how do you play your cards right according to Tony? By doing what Grow NZ business has been suggesting since lockdown began – investing in marketing now!

 “Don’t get yourself through until the middle of next year and have customers saying ‘I wonder if xyz company made it through’. You want to make sure your customers, your potential future clients know that you are going to be there when the more sustained upturn does come along.” – Tony Alexander.

Similarly, don’t be apathetic when it comes to the bounce-back we are already starting to experience. Take the opportunity to bank some money while you can and look at your processes now to avoid the ‘invisible loss’ we talked about last week.

If, like us, you’re thirsty for more of whatever it is Mr Alexander is drinking…let us quench your thirst with some more advice on getting your business ship-shape and ready for more growth.

People x Process = Performance

As promised, we’re back this week with more ways to apply this tried and tested formula for success.

THE PEOPLE FACTOR

People with purpose thrive.

In much the same way as lockdown sorted out businesses with strong cash flow from those without, the culture of many companies also became a key feature for survival when the going got tough. In the words of global management consultants, McKinsey & Company, ”Organisational culture may seem invisible during prosperous times, but in moments of crisis, its presence can be seen clearly in the collective behaviours that either help a company pull together and get things done, or lead to inertia, confusion, and even mistrust”

The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that people and organisations are interconnected and responsible to one another in ways beyond profitable growth. Has your company taken action to care for employees during this pandemic, or did you merely offer lip service? Follow through is key for businesses with purpose.

Empowered people, power growth

I’ll bet no kiwi company escaped lockdown without a shift in ways of working, but how many of you have used this opportunity to grow your people? While every high-performing culture has its own unique recipe for success, according to McKinsey & Co, there are observable patterns and practices that companies can use to accelerate performance. One of these is striking the right balance between leadership that supports and leadership that challenges. What we should be aiming for is leadership that encourages individuals to step up and lead in new ways.

Another practice many high-performing cultures possess is personal ownership, which occurs when leaders change their dialogue from “I’ll hand you a task – you can complete it – then I’ll suggest how you could’ve done it better’,  to something more like  ‘the outcome is in your hands, so you decide what’s needed to make a real difference and I’ll support you in taking calculated risks.’  With agile ways of working now par for the course, now is the perfect opportunity for offering employees more ownership, trust and freedom.

People management is your strongest currency.

When, Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), a Dubai-based conglomerate that includes shopping malls, retail, leisure, and entertainment businesses saw demand for movies flatline during lockdown , it reskilled and redeployed more than 1,000 employees from its cinema and shopping-mall units to its grocery-retailing business in just two days.  The company’s clear and pragmatic approach allowed it to stay true to its purpose and take decisive action, no doubt sparing redundancies in the process.

THE PROCESS FACTOR

A powerful yet often underutilised marketing process is email communication. It’s cost-effective and can result in both immediate and long-term revenue gains.

There’s plenty of data to back up the benefits of email marketing campaigns. For example, US studies show 91 percent of adults like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with (source: MarketingSherpa) and other research shows email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers. (source: McKinsey). But you’ve got to do it right.

Make it engaging

Unlike other marketing channels that often limit your ability to customise your message for the different audiences you communicate with, email marketing gives you the ability to organise your audience into lists and communicate with people based on interest, purchase behaviour, location, and more. So do your research, get to know your customer base and get them gains.

Make it cost-effective

Like any marketing initiative, an email campaign will only be a success if it generates a positive return on investment. Beyond targeting customers with the right content and tone, you need to find a time and cost-efficient process to craft and distribute your emails. We have researched many solutions and have found SendInBlue to be a great, cost-effective option for most businesses.

Make it legit

Spam is the generic term for any unrequested commercial emails, text messages or faxes and there are strict laws governing permission and consent around these messages. Make sure you are compliant with the way you collect and use customer email addresses. You can find out more here.

 

We hope the above has given you some food for thought for the week. We’ll be back next week with more people and process principles guaranteed to boost your performance.