CLAREMONT, CA—Maintaining profitable growth is still possible today in spite of rising inflation, and there are many ways to achieve it, according to The Society for the Advancement of Consulting® (SAC). These include better asset utilization, using trust to accelerate innovation, creating meaningful work, streamlining, as well as investing in sales.

Utilize the Secret Growth Asset You Already Have

“Our most successful clients are not hiding under a rock and maintaining status quo during these inflationary times,” points out Lisa Anderson, president of Claremont, CA-based LMA Consulting Group, Inc. and manufacturing expert known for creating supply chain resiliency. “Instead, they are proactively adjusting prices to prioritize customers, rationalizing products and nearshoring production, securing critical raw materials at the best prices available, and rolling out technology and automation to streamline operations.

“No client is utilizing their ERP system fully,” notes Anderson. “So the smartest clients are expanding the use of this asset to automate, provide superior service, and raise efficiency. Additionally, they are using related technologies such as e-commerce, customer relationship management, configure-to-order, forecasting, advanced planning, transportation management system, and warehouse management systems to improve operational performance and increase EBITDA.”

In High Inflation Times, Growth comes from Trust

“When inflation goes up, customers go for value,” says Steven Hunt, founder of Steven Hunt & Associates, and expert advisor to top management on how to get workers motivated and focused on global business unit growth. “Customers want value for money, not just cut-price products. You wouldn’t sell a diamond for a dollar. Diamond rings have a high emotional and logical value for customers—even in times of high inflation and recession.

“Customer want emotional and logical value for money,” he adds. “We see this in three areas: the comfort of more customer convenience, repackaged products with higher value-add, and new product combinations which better meet existing needs.”

“Now is the time to innovate like crazy,” advises Hunt. “That requires workers to share ideas, be creative, and be able to give great service—not hampered by compliance with company rules and rigid internal processes. It also requires a bedrock of trust. Innovation flourishes in high trust organizations. The biggest source of profitable growth is, counterintuitively, to invest now in a culture of trust.”

Design Meaningful and Humane Work

“There is a growing urgency to strengthen manager-employee interpersonal relationships. The volatility we are experiencing creates stress for individuals, poor working relationships, and decreased productivity,” says Dr. Maynard Brusman, a San Francisco Bay Area consulting psychologist and executive coach.

“All humans need love: We need to be loved and nurtured, and we need to express love,” adds Dr. Brusman. “It’s one of our most fundamental needs. And it’s no surprise that this need carries into the workplace. For many, having healthy business and professional relationships is a top goal. That’s why they practice love in the workplace. Truly successful organizations are led with love.”

Are You Front and Center or Playing Hide and Seek?

“Inflationary times provide opportunities for companies to distinguish themselves,” according to Kathleen McEntee, owner of Kathleen McEntee and Associates, Ltd,
a full-service marketing firm focused on distinguishing businesses with practical marketing strategies and tactics that deliver results. “Often, when economic conditions are topsy turvy, companies try to hide and just stay the course. That’s certainly not a good strategy for growth.

“It’s important to invest in sales,” notes McEntee. “Make sure your salespeople are in sync with your message, addressing the right target markets, and delivering practical solutions for your customers. It’s equally important to invest in marketing. Have a strategy and plan, execute the plan, and communicate regularly to customers, prospects, and former customers. When times are challenging, don’t play hide and seek with your customers. Be front. Be center. Provide good solid solutions. Then you will be heard.”

Stay Focused on Customer Value and Experience

In times like these customers rely on brands they trust to provide good value, 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.

“Businesses that focus on creating exceptional value for customers and developing outstanding customer experiences will continue to thrive,” she says. “When higher costs necessitate tradeoffs, customers will choose the products and services they trust to provide high value—regardless of the nominal price.”

Start by Streamlining in Two Key Areas

“What you shouldn’t do is pass costs on to the customer,” says SAC Founder Alan Weiss, PhD. “Cut costs through streamlining and technology, then streamline your products and services. Using an outside consultant who isn’t wedded to history and tradition helps to do this.”


Originally posted on SAC website: June 1, 2022