The Gap Widens.
I read a report by McKinsey last week that highlighted how the performance gap between the top and bottom performing corporate businesses is widening. As you can see from the chart taken from their report, it’s actually more of a chasm than a gap.
My sense is that it’s the same picture for SMEs too and the separation between the best companies and the poor performers will get wider still as we continue to navigate through this “awkward bit in the middle” between the old and next normal.
Rather than offer those on the downward path some ideas of how to arrest this trend, instead I’ve got a few suggestions for how the best firms might capitalise further.
1. Canvass your prospects like never before. I appreciate many of you are already busy, indeed some of you are feeling overwhelmed, but this isn’t a moment to relax and take a break. Better to feast like conquerors once the war is concluded, as opposed to immediately after the first battle. I’d allocate a dedicated team to solely attack the poorer competitors and win as much business from them as possible.
2. Train your team on how to communicate your strengths and to plant doubt about the competition. Look for evidence that can be used to confirm your position.
3. Look at your competition’s people – who do they have on their teams that would fit in well with yours or even replace a poor performer you might have? If you can see a competitor is on the slide, then for sure the team inside that business will be aware of it too and will be far more open to an approach than before.
4. What assets do your competitors have that might be worth looking at? Do they rent their premises and if so, (and if they’re better than yours), what’s the lease terms and could you line up a deal with the landlord? What about community assets? If your competitor has historically sponsored the main school for example, might you approach them with a better offer now? Similarly advertising positions such as billboards, stations and roundabouts.
5. Although you might not need any more leads right now, increase your marketing spend to be seen as the dominant player. Turn up everywhere, make sure the local community sees the gap and your unrivalled position. (David Pollock, the former owner of Greene & Co used to call this “bossing your patch” – he did rather well from that approach).
In his book, “The 48 Laws of Power” Robert Greene suggests (Law 15) that you should “crush your enemy totally”. Whilst some might find this extreme, indeed several of the Laws are unpalatable to many, the point being made is to seize the opportunity when it presents itself as more often than not, it’s unlikely to come again.
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