How to Stay Resilient in Uncertain Times
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Here we have listed steps and ideas to get you through and come out of the current global turmoil as a stronger company.
Written by — Kalle Lamminpää, Head of Sales
When the world and businesses were slowly starting to get out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were struck by another shock when Russia attacked Ukraine. The challenges in acquiring raw materials have escalated the economic challenges even further. With inflation, energy prices etc. the consumers’ trust in the economy is very low. It is easy to draw a line between this and businesses’ bleaker outlooks. Various banks and institutions have warned us about recession for months now. So how to stay resilient during these difficult times, what are the companies that come out of this victorious, and how can data help?
1 Understand your situation
The state of the world is changing and it’s changing fast. How quickly can you adapt? How well do you understand your current situation? Being up-to-date is crucial. Only when you have accurate and real-time information that you can lean on, can you make effective decisions and steer the ship in the right direction.
Effective data collection from different sources (including external ones) and visualization into an understandable format directed to the right people at the right time enable you to find insights beneficial to your current and future state. For example, are your prices correct and reflect the current market? Is your warehouse properly stocked? Is your manufacturing process correctly optimized?
As much as consulting houses tell you how they know your business, the truth is that no one knows your business as you do. Sure, there are similarities between the companies working in the same field but each company has its own processes, tools, ambitions, culture, etc. In challenging times, these differences can make or break your competitive edge so your employees must be able to enhance their strengths and concentrate on the tasks at hand. When moving out of your core business and in need of helping hands, look for the appropriate expertise from outside. External employees have expertise in their respective fields.
How well do you know your customer? What time do they buy? Why then? How do they prefer to buy? What else do they buy? What are they buying from elsewhere that you could provide them with? Why are they buying from your competitor? How long is their buying cycle? How did they find you? Are your prices correct?
The point is that customer understanding is as good as gold. Knowing your customer by heart allows you to focus your efforts on areas they care about and are willing to pay for. You can direct your marketing efforts to correct audiences, keep warehouses at needed stock, and optimize your logistics based on customer understanding. This also generates customer satisfaction which creates customer loyalty and prevents customer churn.
Focus on the core of your business and play with your strengths, hire outside expertise.
When talking about sustainability, many connect this to environmental issues alone. In reality, sustainability covers much more than that. Sustainability can be divided into environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters. Together these make up the “non-financial” numbers of the company. This is an increasing trend also among investors and creates a competitive edge for companies when utilized correctly. A report by US SIF (2020) states that investors are considering ESG factors across $17 trillion of professionally managed assets, a 42 percent increase since 2018. What they are mainly looking at are well-managed companies that are resilient over time. Measure, analyze, report, and develop your sustainability to get an accurate view of your business and bottlenecks in sustainability.
Sustainability is also a strong tool to attract investors and employees. Start by figuring out what you want to measure, where the data comes from, where it goes, how it’s reported, where it’s shared, and what actions you take based on the numbers. In terms of IT and data, there are many ways to go about this: plan, collect, measure, analyze, improve, and recommend. Also in designing your technical architecture, there are ways to get greener. For more about that, I’d recommend you check out this blog about sustainable data platforms.
Fact: Work productivity in Finland (work h per person / GDP per person) has not increased in services as greatly as in other Nordic countries, the Netherlands, or Great Britain. One potential reason for this is the lack of investments. In terms of investing in data projects, one issue is that quantifying the ROI in data projects is not always clear or easy. Before any project starts we must ask what the tangible benefits of this project are.
How much time will be saved per year? How much money the project will save in the long run? How much more revenue are we looking to generate? What non-financial benefits are we looking to gain from this? What are the new insights we hope to discover?
In AI/ML it is easier because the KPIs for projects are more straightforward to calculate. For example, if an AI solution can save 10% of employees' work time, the saving is XXXX € per month. For creating new data-based solutions it is more difficult to say that “this solution will bring us this much more money”.
An easy way to start a data project is to identify a problem (while keeping it broad) and step by step get to the source of it. For example by asking how we can save money on energy and be more sustainable. You can then start breaking it into smaller pieces to tackle. This way you can build incrementally and get wins along the way that generate trust and business benefits throughout the way.
5 CREATE NEW
To contradict myself from points 1 & 2, create something new. Once you have discovered your focus and current situation, you can discover by-products from your core business and even create new ones. Discover offerings or solutions to further differentiate yourself from the competition and gain a competitive edge. Technology has also created opportunities to expand your offering or pivot your core business for example by turning towards service business instead of products. Are there new insights created by you that you could monetize? Are there new products that you could effortlessly create? Can you seize more market share by offering services for competing products?
If any of these ideas resonate with you or you would like to FIND ANSWERS TO PRESENTED QUESTIONS, please feel free to contact us!
Hey psst you! Since you got this far, you must be interested in harnessing data to take businesses to the next level. If you're also a salesperson or know someone who is, we have an opportunity for you. There are so many companies that are feeling our vibe that Kalle cannot take care of them all on his own. So we're hiring a Sales Executive 👀 Read more and apply!