CLAREMONT, CA— The best way to raise profitability now is to determine customers’ needs in the new year and help address them, according to The Society for the Advancement of Consulting® (SAC). Providing clear, outstanding, and immediate value to customers will get businesses out of the depths of the COVID-19 crisis and raise their profitability.

Customers Crave Your Rapid Response Capabilities

“Manufacturers and distributors have a rare opportunity as the world emerges from COVID,” points out Lisa Anderson, president of Claremont, CA-based LMA Consulting Group, Inc. and manufacturing expert known for creating supply chain resiliency.

“Get on top of your changing customer needs so that you can rapidly evolve your products and services to provide a superior customer experience and grow sales,” says Anderson. “In addition, rapidly reassess your end-to-end supply chain to reposition, upgrade, and enable a resilient and responsive supply chain.”

“There are vast opportunities to get ahead of your customers’ needs and get a leg up on the competition,” she adds. “Those companies that reposition on the fly and better understand their customers’ changing needs will be able to apply the appropriate technologies to accelerate success and achieve scalable, profitable growth.”

Life’s Complicated Enough, So Make It Easier for Your Customers

“Companies need to work hard on simplifying their processes, products, and services,” says Praveen Puri, President of Praveen Puri, and expert in Strategic Simplicity® who advises on IT and business simplification. “Even post-COVID, the world continues to become more volatile, while attention becomes scarcer as people are bombarded with information and demands on their time. Those companies that can adapt to changes quickly, while making their customer’s lives easier, will enjoy a massive competitive advantage.”

Invest in Your Workforce, Particularly Leaders

“A company’s investment in its workforce will determine how quickly it recovers after COVID-19. Paying attention to employees during this pandemic can prevent a company from ending up worse off,” says Dr. Maynard Brusman, a San Francisco Bay Area consulting psychologist and executive coach.

According to Dr. Brusman, “When employees feel supported by their company, they work hard and are loyal, making the company more profitable. Behavioral economists note that leaders who respond to others with kindness have a significant effect on behavior. People who are shown kindness from their managers are likely to reciprocate with higher productivity. A company that cares about the health and well-being of their employees is more likely to experience growth and profitability.”

Dr. Brusman advises his executive coaching clients, “The care a company’s leaders demonstrate for their workforce will determine how quickly the company recovers after COVID-19.”

Full Customer-Centricity is the Next Fulcrum of Success

“Reshoring, offshoring, and nearshoring your supply chain. Developing your leaders in ways that are measurably connected to business objectives. Moving to new cloud-based IT services. All of these investment—in supply chain, people, and IT—are inherently good with one huge proviso: customers must gain,” explains Steven Hunt, an expert in leadership and accelerating collaboration in global companies.

“A big utility company in the EU,” he adds, “has just blocked an internal IT proposal to restructure for two simple reasons. It makes account access more complicated for customers, and it increases the time they spend paying their electricity bills.”

“The biggest driver of high growth next year is outside your company. It’s your customers,” Hunt notes. “Determine the factors they appreciate about your products and services. Then deliver those factors better or faster, or both.”

Find an Unmet Need and Fill It

As the world moves to a post-COVID era, customers will have a new set of critical needs—from maintaining the health and safety of their workers to remaining competitive in a new business environment, according to Linda Popky, president of Redwood Shores, CA-based strategic firm marketing firm Leverage2Market Associates, and author of the book Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing That Matters.

“What we think we knew about our customers has changed dramatically over the last 9 months. It’s time to take a hard look at where businesses are now and what new challenges and opportunities they’ll likely face in the year ahead,” she says. “Those companies that are not afraid to move forward in spite of uncertainty and ambiguity will be much further ahead when the dust clears. This is a chance for innovative organizations to thrive by differentiating themselves from the rest of the pack.” 

Outstanding Value for an Outstanding Year

“You grow and increase profitability in the same way in any world: You offer outstanding value that is not a commodity but a distinguishing aspect of your business,” says SAC Founder Alan Weiss, PhD. “You base your fees on that value, not your time and not your physical presence. And you constantly innovate and climb, taking prudent risks.”


Originally published at SAC, December 1, 2020