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Articles filed in: Strategy

If I Were You

If I were you.

Four words it’s tempting to use when someone shares a problem.

Four words I’m trying to avoid using—because I am not you.

I don’t know what it’s like to sit with what you’re experiencing or feeling at this moment.

You have the wisdom of past experiences to draw on.

Ideas you haven’t yet articulated, even to yourself.

How many solutions could you generate if you reflected on what you want and what your next right step might be? Many more than if someone just told you exactly what to do.

Image by Burst

Balancing Wants And Needs


On a normal day, our local supermarket stocks fifty different kinds of pasta. Right now they’re stocking two. On a normal day, customers would complain bitterly about the lack of choice. Today they’re grateful to leave the shop with two boxes of a brand of penne they’ve never tried.

What we’re witnessing in real-time as we work together to keep ourselves and our communities safe, is a shift in priorities, for our customers, clients and us. We’re adapting. And as we do, there’s an opportunity to pay attention to what the people we serve want and need in this moment.

These skills we’re learning today will help us to be better innovators and creators, teachers and marketers, tomorrow.

What do the people you serve need now? What will they want in the future?

Image by Soroush Karimi

What Can You Do Now?

Julie has been running her local florist business for five years. She’s built up a reputation with the people in her suburb, who regularly pop in when they’re walking past to buy flowers and plants that brighten their homes and their lives.

While new single bunch, online flower delivery services blossomed, Julie made the decision when she started to be a neighbourhood business. She wanted to serve a community of customers she knew by name. This strategy worked well for her, until now.

All the restaurants and cafés along her street have closed, and her customers have retreated indoors to self-isolate. The streets are eerily quiet. Nobody is popping in to buy flowers anymore. Julie’s strategy didn’t account for an event like this.

But she’s not ready to shut her doors. She wants to find a way to serve her customers. So she’s employed an extra driver and begun to offer free contactless delivery. Julie’s doing what she’s always done—what’s different is how she does it. Her strategy remains the same. It’s just her tactics that have to change for the moment.

What can you do now to keep doing what you’ve always done?

Image by Ellicia

What Did You Do?


A walk down my local café strip shows just how resourceful we can be when we’re in a tough spot. Because of world events and government guidelines around group gatherings, restaurants and cafes can no longer welcome diners into their premises. But they are quickly adapting.

Every café has come up with a solution. Many have changed to a takeaway menu, offering local delivery. Smith & Daughters partnered with their organic vegetable wholesaler to sell fresh produce. Ish, the local Indian restaurant has started a meal kit service.

And Kere Kere launched Essential Soup, to provide jobs to unemployed hospitality workers and nourishment to those in self-isolation.

Now is a time of uncertainty for many of us. A time when our plans and our usual routines have been upended and some of us have extra hours on our hands.

When this moment passes, we will look back at how we adapted. We’ll remember how we became more creative, resourceful and resilient. We’ll remind ourselves, and each other about what we did, how we pushed through and how we helped.

This time next year, how will you answer the question: What did you do?

On Resourcefulness


When things don’t go according to plan.

Remember this isn’t the first time you’ve had to change course.

Make a list of all the other times you pushed through.

Remind yourself of the skills and strengths you previously called on in challenging times.

Tell yourself those stories today.

They will stand you in good stead as you work to change the things you can change.

Tomorrow and the day after.

Image by Neil Thomas

Don’t Be Right, Be Early


Seven years ago, a member of the Zoom video conferencing sales team worked hard to demonstrate the value of their service to me.

She emailed, she Zoomed, she answered questions. And I didn’t sign up.

‘I will one day,’ I promised. ‘Just not now. It’s just too early for me.’

Which was true.

Few of us could have predicted the extraordinary growth trajectory of a company like Zoom seven years ago.

Nobody would have predicted that thousands of organisations, educational institutions and creatives, would now rely on Zoom to meet, teach and collaborate with colleagues and students in quarantine just seven weeks ago.

In tomorrow’s world, we will forget that Zoom built their business one call, one customer, at a time.

It’s impossible to be sure about our next move as we navigate the future.

It always has been.

Sometimes we have to take the first step without knowing whether it’s the right one.

We can’t always be right, but we can be early.

Image by Britanni Burns

Build a Reputation


My friend Anna has been going to the same hairdresser for ten years. She’s never trusted anyone else to cut her hair in all that time. Now though, she has no option because her stylist just had a baby, and she’s on maternity leave.

When Anna sat in the new stylist’s chair, she was so anxious her palms were sweating.

Objectively, she had no proof that her regular stylist was more skilled than the new one. But reputation is built on beliefs and opinions, not objective facts.

Trust earned over time is a powerful differentiator.

Who do you want to be most trusted by and what for?

Image by AW Creative

What Separates This From That?


When we’re not simply driven by price how do we choose what to buy?

We tell ourselves a story about quality, design, durability, or provenance. But often as we rationalise about the advantages of one product or service over another, the differentiator we perceive is the degree of love and care that’s gone into making or delivering it.

There is no place for love on a spreadsheet, ironically that’s what makes it invaluable. When we care it shows.

Image by Thomas Marban

Simple Questions To Ask When Your Marketing Isn’t Working


My marketing isn’t working.

This sweeping declaration leads us to draw (sometimes incorrect), conclusions that influence our future marketing plans and business strategy. We can’t fix our marketing when we don’t know why it’s broken. But where do we start?
Here are seven questions to ask when your marketing isn’t working as well as you’d like.

7 Questions To Ask And Answer When Your Marketing Isn’t Working

1. Why isn’t this marketing working?
Not necessarily why, in fact, but why do you think—what’s your best guess as to the reasons you’re not achieving the results you want?

2. Did we reach enough of the right people?
How many people do you need to resonate with to achieve the numbers of sales or attract the clients you want?

3. How clear is the message?
Does your message clarify how exactly you solve your prospective customer’s problems, unmet needs or unspoken desires?

4. How well does the message resonate?
Do you know enough about your ideal customers to craft a message that resonates with them and calls them to act?

5. Are you meeting our prospective customers where they are?
Did you use the right medium, in the right place at the right time?

6. Did you give it enough time?
Is the marketing broken, or are you impatient to see results?

7. What would you change given your response to the first six questions?
What one thing can you do today to improve your marketing?

All marketing is testing. Rinse and repeat.

Image by Tim Mossholder

Why Should They Care?


The ‘For Lease’ sign attached to the first-floor window of the shopfront is one of half a dozen along Gertrude Street. And the sales copy on each of them does nothing to differentiate one premises from the other.

The signs give us dimensions, details about the facilities and ‘good natural light’. They don’t for a second help a prospective tenant to translate those features into the benefits they care about.

It’s not enough to tell people what they get as part of the transaction today. We need to show them how those features will become benefits that matter to them in the long run.

Image by Garry Knight