Sunday was a cold and wet day. The kids were in the basement playing some video games when they called me down to check out a new version of Pac-Man they had found. As I watched them play this new version of Pac-Man, which contained elements of the classic we all know, I was struck with this strange thought of the current COVID-19 situation.
At the start of a Pac-Man game, you’re running around the board avoiding ghosts, eating pellets, and getting power-ups. Later on in the game, when most of the pellets and power-ups are gone, you’ve got to work much harder to avoid the chasing ghosts.
It’s a lot like the modern business environment.
Most of the time, when it’s business as usual (pre-COVID-19), we’re running around, collecting pellets, eating the odd cherry, and being chased by our competitors. However, it doesn’t really matter where we go – so long as we don’t directly run into the ghosts, not only do we stay in the game, we keep collecting more points. So much fun!
Often, when we see an opportunity, we’re even able to grab the cherries and eat the ghosts. When things are really good, we move swiftly around the board, eating the cookies and moving to the next level. We’re invincible.
It was like that for a lot of the last 10 years or so for a lot of businesses – it was hard to go under given the economic growth in the US.
But we’re in that later stage of the game now. There are fewer cherries and fewer pellets. You’ve got to work incredibly hard right now to avoid the ghosts. You’ve got to be on top of your game. There are no invincibility guarantees. Just staying alive doesn’t automatically also get you more points. So the advice I offer you this week is simple.
Don’t go chasing pellets and cherries that aren’t there.
Don’t take unnecessary risks right now to try and gobble up more pellets – the goal right now is to stay in the game and look for ways to level up with smart, prudent risk.
What defensive moves do you need to take now to be more powerful in a post Covid-19 world?
What areas of your business do you need to shore up and get healthier?
What needed improvements have you avoided in the past while being chased? Can those improvements be made now?
Your Challenge for This Week:
Most Tuesday Tidbit readers know that I love the analogy of the “holes in the bucket.”
Think of your business as a bucket – if it’s well made, you keep all the water that comes in. If it’s not, and there are holes in the bottom and sides, then you’re going to leak out water, and the only way to keep it full is to have a steady source of new water coming in.
During great times, enough new business is coming in that it doesn’t matter if you have good processes in place or not. It doesn’t matter if you optimize. You’ll still get your bonus either way.
For most companies I’m talking to now, though, the flow has slowed right down. This is the time to fix the holes in your bucket.
Nine times out of 10, those holes represent poor processes (or poor adherence to good processes).
- Customer Retention
- Customer Re-activation
- Prospect Follow-up
- Client Relationship Building
- Referral Generation
- Sales Processes
These are all areas where a lot of companies know they don’t have the best processes in place and know they could level up and get better.
Take this time while you’re running around with no pellets in sight to make these processes solid so that you can survive the downturn and be ready to start collecting pellets again when we get to the next level.
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