Shawn Casemore is an expert in customer experience, who prepares companies, their leaders and teams for breakthrough growth and performance. Shawn has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as CN Rail, Tim Horton’s, and Pepsi Co, however he invests the majority of his time working with some of the fastest growing and dynamic mid-market companies, including Bellwyck Packaging, Gerson and Gerson Incorporated and Saje Natural Wellness. Shawn is well-versed to offer insights on how to build winning strategies that make you stand out from the competition. He shared his findings and expertise in the below article.

The pandemic has caused a great deal of disruption for many. From learning how to manage a remote team to shifting from in-person to virtual selling, we’ve all learned and experienced a great deal.

Whether the resulting environment has been positive for your business or not, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, that light might appear more as a freight train as we approach, if you’re not prepared.

Pick up or read any of the more reputable financial publications, and all signs point to a rapid recovery in the coming 12–24 months. Some have even predicted pent-up demand will explode.

There are clear indications that these predictions hold truth. Labour shortages are slowly increasing and will only further increase as retail opens up. Wait times and backlogs for critical products and components continue, to be further exacerbated once demand increases. Customer expectations are returning to normal, no longer willing to accept that “the pandemic” is to blame.

But what does this mean for us today? How can we best prepare and not be caught short-handed? This question is keeping many of my clients awake at night, aside from the usual challenges.

Now is NOT the time to go back and dust off your strategic plan and pick up where you left off. In fact, no strategy that existed pre-pandemic is relevant, considering where we are today. We’ve taken a breath and made it through what is likely the worst of this thing. Now, is the time to chart a new course and prepare for what’s to come.

Charting a Course

My approach has always been to plan for the worst and expect the best.

Not “hope,” mind you—hope isn’t a strategy.

Regardless of your preferred approach, you can start by considering the following questions as they pertain to your customers, marketplace, and employees:

  • How can you continue to sell if meeting in person remains taboo and customers are becoming tired of Zoom?
  • How will you accommodate shifts in communication preferences as email use diminishes and texting, IM, and WhatsApp rise in popularity?
  • How will you support employees who will have new expectations around more flexible work arrangements and remote work options?
  • How will you differentiate your company and its products, services, and support from your competitors as demand increases?
  • How will you keep employees engaged and positive as demands on their time and priorities increase?
  • What technology can support your sustainment and growth considering the previous questions?

My point is simple. How would an economic rebound of any magnitude impact your business?

My guess is you are likely to experience employee shortages, growing demands for technology and increasingly impatient customers. Prepare now by reflecting on the questions above as a good starting point.

Gain a Competitive Advantage

If you consider that the success of your business ultimately lies in the hands of your employees, then the need to introduce changes and protect what you’ve worked hard to achieve has never been more important.

Sure, there are still the daily fires to fight as we continue to muddle our way through the ongoing shutdowns, slower-than-anticipated vaccine roll-out, and economic hiccups.

However, now is the time to think strategically and start planning for what’s likely to come. We’ve learned enough to make reasonable assumptions about what’s to come in the next 6, 12 or even 18 months.

Prepare your strategy, one that is sentient and allows you to be nimble and agile, ready to tackle what’s likely to come. If you wait, it’s quite possible your competitor won’t.

Start now, while the opportunity presents itself.

 

To help ease the strain COVID-19 is placing on Canadian Businesses, TEC Canada has compiled insights from global experts to support business leaders as they navigate the challenges and opportunities presented. If you would like to receive similar information more regularly, please click here.

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