One of my favourite movies is Forrest Gump. Apart from the comical weaving of major historical events, there is a scene in the movie where the hapless T-shirt entrepreneur runs up to wipe the brow of a perspiring Forrest, as he runs endlessly through America.
From this single act of accidental generosity the iconic smiley face was born. A new cultural monolith was created generating rivers of wealth for the hapless entrepreneur. The smiley face now adorns T Shirts, Stickers and has become one of the most popular emoji.
But how do business operators find their elusive Forrest amongst the trees of this tightening economy?
There certainly is no harm in putting yourself in a position to reap the benefits of a lucky break, however planning remains key.
The reality is that at this time of year, most businesses cannot afford to wander around helplessly hoping to bump into their moment of inspiration.
By now you will have figured out that this blog isn’t about AI taking over how you run your business. Although it does get a mention, it will be about the traditional hygiene checks to consider before the Halloween, Melbourne Cup and Festive season kick in.
Businesses are quite used to doing the annual or half yearly planning session. How about looking at the final quarter, particularly given so much has changed in the external market.
Those last 3 months in the year can be one of the most unpredictable times. Revisiting final quarter goals and objectives may help the team refocus. It requires stepping out of the day to day; but once you know what you want to achieve, you can start to develop a plan to make it happen.
Whether you are implementing a new pricing strategy or launching a new product, plan for the unexpected. If you're launching a new product this quarter and expect teething issues with MVP adoption, consider offering early adopters a small discount or feedback incentive to drive a feedback loop and learn from their experiences.
Even if you have been in the same sectors for years, it is worth finding out who the new customer players are and what their needs and buying habits are. There is no better way of doing this than getting on the phone or attending industry networking events. A better understanding will help you tailor your marketing and sales efforts accordingly.
Are your marketing efforts still suitable for the changing market, or do you need to cut back on some areas to invest in new ones? Maybe test new channels, and adjust your marketing message - it could be the time to experiment on a new social platform or attend a new sector conference.
Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can be a great way to experiment with potential new customers. You can use social media to share content about your products or services, run campaigns or early releases, and connect with industry influencers.
Creating and publishing high-quality content is another way to attract new customers and build trust with your audience. You can create blog posts, infographics, e-books, and other types of content that are relevant to your target audience.
If you sell tangible products, you may require more inventory to meet demand, or mitigate against a blow out in lead times by negotiating new terms with suppliers. You can mitigate against the insane shortage of basic technology inventory in 2022 and most of 2023 by ordering now!
If you sell professional services, you need the right people to deliver to clients on time and on budget. On budget is even more important today seeing as customers are managing reducing budgets and looking to improve outcomes from each dollar spent. If you can't find someone to do the work long term, a short-term contract with a capable expert can assist.
Finding applications for new technology can be daunting. For the less technologically native, it is totally fine to start off by using broad appeal services such as OpenAI and GoogleBard to do anything from initial market mapping, drafting internal guides, jobs descriptions and policy documents.
Once you are confident that you are getting real benefits, you can move onto AI plug-ins provided by your existing CRM/or ERP providers. It is essential to go into these with your eyes wide open and read the fine print. With additional convenience comes the trade off of information sharing about your business, your content and calendar appointments!
Until AI can bring you a lead, close it, provide customers with ongoing servicing and collect payments, much of what you require will involve having the right people to deliver to your target audience. Who knows, you might put yourself in a position to take advantage of that next lucky break!
Re-forecast your Cash flow regularly - monthly at a minimum. Make sure you have sufficient working capital options to get you through to next year.
Things don't always go according to plan, so it's important to be prepared for the unexpected. This could include staff shortages, liquidity shortages, unexpected demand, or shipping delays. Having a contingency plan in place will help you to minimise the impact of any unexpected challenges.
Procuret is a financial technology company that helps businesses manage their cash flow. Procuret offers a pay-in-instalments solution that allows businesses to spread out the cost of their purchases over time. This can be helpful for businesses that need to purchase inventory or equipment, pay for software and services for the festive season but don't have the cash flow to pay for it upfront or simply cash flow smart and paying in Instalments as is cash-flow friendly & easy for budgeting and a smart way to pay while preserving credit limits for working capital.