ALTMAVEN'S INSIGHTS SERIES
Approaching Adversity with a Growth-Oriented Mindset
“In times of adversity and change, we really discover who we are and what we’re made of.”
– Howard Schultz
With adversity comes a unique set of challenges, particularly in this time when a myriad of unpredictable outcomes are possible. Amidst the unexpected arrival of our current global crisis, founders and CEOs report feeling overwhelmed, left without a playbook on how to manage quickly evolving market demands.
Throughout history, times of hardship have thankfully also delivered new and exciting opportunities. Adversity, by design, implores both individuals and businesses to adopt new ways of thinking. As fresh strategies bubble to the surface, inspired action often follows. In essence, adversity pushes us outside of our comfort zones, where many great leaders report that they do their best work.
During today’s trying times, we see companies such as Moderna and Thermo Fisher innovating on the fly, developing solutions faster and better than ever before, poised to help their customers in new ways. For entrepreneurs and companies questioning what you can do right now, consider the following:
Find New Ways to Help Your Clients
How have your clients’ challenges evolved? How can you help to solve the problems of today and the future? Where do you have deep domain expertise? What innovations can you bring to the market to help your customers, and their customers, through this period? Now more than ever is the time to let value lead every decision and go-to-market strategy. Rethink systems and processes, both on the revenue and expense sides of the business, as you consider the nuances of this new reality.
Adapt Your Marketing Message
Not only have your customers’ needs changed, but their values are playing a critical role in decision making. Your marketing message should reflect on how you can help them today. Is your message on point with the new realities? Reframe your offer by tailoring the message to the landscape we are experiencing both today and tomorrow. General Motors announced a promotion with seven-year payment terms and zero-percent financing, adapting to the challenges consumers will face in buying vehicles. Ford has also refined its message, offering customers the ability to delay their first payment for 90 days. The decisions will improve their business funding and ease constraints for their customers. Make it easier for your clients to engage with your business now, showing a genuine commitment to helping them. Today’s consumer values security. They prioritize health. They crave a sense of community. Where do your values align with theirs?
Every business line item needs to be justified. Championed by Peter Pyhrr at Texas Instruments, and made famous by 3G Capital more recently, “zero-based budgeting” is a critical philosophy to implement during times of uncertainty. In concert with the idea, managers should ensure that the highest returning projects are receiving the most growth capital, from every department. Be thoughtful about how you extend your runway and manage your cash flows. Stress-test your assumptions and stay prepared for the only constant – change.
As a founder or manager, stay connected to employees with a compassionate approach; a steady hand and empathetic demeanor go a long way in helping everyone to feel safer. Focus on leveraging your organization for ideas, simply by asking for them. Uncover revenue-generating and cost-saving solutions by working with your greatest resource, your team. It was a 3M employee who discovered that their technology could create temporary bookmarks, today it is known as Post-It Notes. Create an environment for your employees to step up and share their thoughts. Today’s brainstorming session is tomorrow’s million-dollar idea.
Embracing uncertainty, reflecting on where you see your business three months, one year and five years down the line, and reconnecting to your values will help you to navigate today’s quickly-changing business climate. What steps can you take today to grow into the business you envision for tomorrow?
At Altmaven Capital, we value collaboration, ideation, and a value-first approach. We’re here to brainstorm, give feedback, and answer any questions about how to both innovate and prosper in times of adversity.
As always, feel free to reach out and discuss any questions you may have.