Growth During Crisis? Yes. Here’s How.

It’s time we prepare for growth in a post-Covid world. When we get to the next normal, we need to be ready.

“Post-Covid.” Now, there’s a term we all hope to use as quickly as possible. This horrible virus has killed 100,000+ people in the US and decimated the economy like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime. But what is “post-Covid”? The truth is, we don’t really know what that world even looks like. We know what we hope it looks like, but one thing for sure, we have to prepare for it. We have to prepare because the post-Covid world won’t just show up one day, out of the blue. We’re going to experience growth, to different degrees, according to what industry we’re in.  It might take months, or unfortunately, years.

So, we all have a lot to do. We’ve decided we want to lead with purpose. We’ve made efforts to protect our staff and our customers. We’ve got social-distancing guidelines, work-from-home procedures, and we’re mobilizing everyone in the organization (rather, what’s left of it), from the C-suite to the front lines. As McKinsey puts it, we’re now focused on “Charting a purposeful path to the next normal.”

This post isn’t about the checklist of things to be done though. It’s not about the budgets needed or the timelines that accompany the plans. It’s not about leading from the front and doing it with purpose. It’s about NOT going it alone. It’s about strategic partnerships and reducing risk, expanding brainpower, and working with a like-minded company to achieve mutually beneficial results.

Let’s face it – getting to the new normal is fluid (which is corporate-speak for “We think this is what we should do – until the first monkey-wrench is thrown at us – then we’ll changes things up”.) It is going to take time, money, and extraordinary effort. As I see it, we can muddle through the coming months and wait for things to get back to the way they were – which they won’t – especially in the “advanced industries” as McKinsey puts it, or we can jumpstart growth in this post-Covid world. If you’re up for jumpstarting, read on.

So, if you’re in an “advanced industry”, you’re likely very happy you have a job, unlike many of your co-workers. The company at which you work went through dozens of “stop the bleeding” exercises, cutting and furloughing, and you’ve made it through. So, while you’re happy you have a job, you realize now you actually have three jobs, and are doing them for less pay than you were before. That’s life, but you’re not complaining.

I would bet that part of your three jobs is “growth”. Maybe it is part of all three jobs. Either way, you have to bring growth to the organization; find new customers, and gain share of wallet from existing customers. You are charged with Increasing revenue across the board and you have to do it with a reduced budget and fewer teammates. Fun times, right?

Right about now, you’re saying “How the hell am I supposed to create growth, when I’m nearly alone and doing multiple jobs with fewer resources?” Well, what if you were to find someone, at another like-minded company, who is in the same situation? You could join forces and do it together. Since you’re doing it together, you could share costs and reduce risk. Sound complicated? It isn’t – if you know HOW to partner.

The first step is the most important in a post-Covid world; triage – EVERYTHING. Determine what’s most critical and focus on that. Focus on the must-have and must-do columns. Leave the rest for later. That new product? Push it. All those new blog posts? Trim the list. That new brochure? Push it – heck, kill it, and focus on the things that will appeal to the market, as it exists today, not to the market of last year. Focus on growth, and I don’t mean big, utopian growth, nicely packaged with a big bow. I mean the scratching, clawing out-of-the-hole growth that comes in bits and pieces. The kind of growth that you experienced early on in your career. The kind of growth that made you who you are today.

Now, add one element that will make all this easier; partner with someone at another company who has the same goals as you. That person has to be in the same frame of mind as you, and their company has to be a like-minded, complementary brand that would benefit from partnering with you, just as much as you would gain from partnering with them. They don’t need to be in the same industry, though in these tough times, working with friendly competitors isn’t a bad idea at all. In short, the potential list of strategic partners is endless.

The hardest step is the first step; picking the right partner. You’ll need a list of potential targets because, as you’ll see, not everyone wants to partner. Plan this out though. Who needs more customers like the ones you already have? Who has customers that your product or service would appeal to? Who would benefit from promoting to your customer list?

Come up with a joint product or joint promotion or keep it simple; promote your products to their list and let them promote to yours. I know, it sounds scary. Note though, I’m NOT talking about giving away databases and I’m not talking about short-term, one-off deals. I’m talking about long-term, strategic partnerships. Credit card companies, media companies, hospitality companies, universities, retailers – the list is endless. It’s not easy and it takes the vision of the endgame.

What’s next? Well, I’ve done hundreds of deals like this and I can help you. My team and I can move fast. We’ve got lists of dozens of companies who could be open to partnering on the right project. We can help set up the strategy, create the potential list of partners, and even help close the deals. Interested? Let’s chat. E-mail me: click here. And oh, if we’re not connected on LinkedIn, let’s fix that right NOW (click here!).

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