That’s the way we’ve always done it

“That’s the way we’ve always done it” has always been a poor excuse for a company’s actions. Today, it’s arguably the top threat to your business.

We originally wrote a blog with this same title in 2017 after running into a rash of people who answered our ‘Why do you do it that way?’ question with the wrong answer. Even back then, we saw how damaging this resistant-to-change attitude could be to a company.

Now, we’re seeing many businesses forced to shutter their doors. Why? Because they didn’t take a hard look at their go-to-market plan and ensure it is aligned with the world today. More businesses are closing their doors due to the “That’s the way we’ve always done it” reason versus any other reason today.

If you fall into the camp of not realigning your business plan in the last year or so, don’t worry. You’re not alone. The economy has been a rollercoaster over the past 5 years and it’s hard enough to keep up with the day-to-day. It’s human nature to gravitate toward the comfort zone, rather than critically reviewing your business

Major Business Changes

There have been some major shifts in all industries over the past few years which include:

  • How work gets done. The pandemic has permanently changed how things get done in every industry, from interactions on the sales side to the way a company delivers services or produces goods.  Everyone has different expectations now than 3 years ago.  This will likely continue to change.
  • Hiring is tough – plus key talent is retiring. Across all industries, hiring the people you need to run your business has become difficult. Salary expectations have changed.  We’ve seen skilled front-line salaries increase by as much as 50%. Plus, the much-anticipated retirement of Baby Boomers has dramatically increased in the last 18 months.  Normally, that would be a handoff to the next generation, but this time, we’re seeing people in their 60s and 70s hand the reins off to people in their 30s. That means there is a radical change in how many companies now function.
  • Uncertainty is now the norm. The stock market’s volatility in 2022 is just one indication that things have not settled down since the Covid outbreak began. Many businesses are constantly operating in reactionary mode, dealing with inflation, supply chain issues, and shifting customer demand as it happens.

How can we get back in front of our business?

The changing economy shouldn’t be a reason to hide and wait for better times, but rather a time that you adjust the plan and get in front of your competitors.  In the ten years Empirical has been in business, we’ve seen our proactive clients outperform the reactive ones by a wide margin.

Here are some of the ways you can drive your business right now:

  • Review your HR policies and the salaries you offer. Do you have the right policies in place that will attract and retain the talent you need to exceed goals and expectations?  When is the last time you reviewed salaries for both existing and new team members? If you aren’t updating to match the world around you, we guarantee your competition is. Yes, it can get expensive handing out raises, but the cost to replace that talent will far outweigh the cost of the raise. A good talent acquisition agency can help you review the marketplace and ensure your strategy is on point.
  • Understand the new customer journey. Yes, you heard us right, the new customer journey.  If you haven’t formally spoken to your clients (conducted a true Voice of the Customer) in the past year, you are missing the boat.  You will likely find their needs have changed, they are shopping for products and services differently, and they expect to be serviced in a much more personalized way.
  • Know how to get in front of and stay in front of clients. The days of salespeople meeting with all of your clients face-to-face are dead.  If you’re still waiting for that to come back, you’ll be waiting a LONG time.  Clients want to understand you and get the information they need without engaging you early on.  Ask them what they’d like to see from you – and make your offerings align with them.
  • Work smarter. Leverage your data and technology to enable your business to run more efficiently. We are not talking about large tech investments, but instead focusing on how to make better use of what you already have. How well are you using your existing CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems? Are you using available data from your website to make better marketing decisions?

The coming years will be one of great opportunities for those ready to take advantage of them.  Will your company adjust to win – or will you be still saying ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it’ as you close your doors for good?

 

Want to talk more about your opportunities and the challenges that lie ahead? Bill Morrow, Managing Partner, would love to chat further and hear your story of how you have – or haven’t – changed your business model over the last few years. Reach out to us at hello@thinkempirical.com or give us a call (610) 994-1139.