Proactivity – the key word of the moment
Economic crisis, again. You might think I have nothing else to talk about. That’s not true, and I don’t want to talk about how bad life is. I would rather choose something else. My topic is a way to get better results. The magic word is proactivity. Only one problem with it: it requires more work.
A matter of luck?
I was lucky enough to hear a successful entrepreneur talk about how he reacted to the crisis. The story starts in 2019. The covid came in 2020 and the war broke out in 2022. So the preparation for the crisis started years before the crisis! You could say he just got lucky. Maybe. But Tiger Woods said that the more I practise, the more I get lucky. Is it luck if I know my market and react before my competitors? Many people don’t pay attention to the competition, they just mind their own business. However, the direction in which competitors are heading can be a good orientation point for us. Their growth or even their decline can draw attention to what (and especially how) we should be doing. Or has proactivity prevailed in such a case? Or was he more a visionary or a developer who foresaw what would happen? Or did he not foresee it at all, but was guided by his intuition?
The crisis and the average entrepreneur
If it’s not about you, don’t take it personally! But I know a lot of entrepreneurs and I hear of much more who are responding to the crisis by cutting back. They are laying off employees, which in principle may be a necessary step, but it is certainly not the first place where you should intervene. It is narrowing its product portfolio and cutting prices. Why? They think they’ll be more successful if they focus on fewer things. Yes, it could go either way, but that’s not a given. And they are cutting prices because they are sure that in hard times, the only way to succeed is with cheap, mass-produced goods. If you think about Jaugar or Apple’s strategy, you will see something completely different. Because most studies show that premium products are the ones that will weather the crisis best. In Bratislava, it is now easier to find a panel apartment ‘cheap’ than a premium penthouse ‘expensive’. This is because the ‘rich’ are not so affected by a crisis. They are losing too, but they are not nearly as vulnerable as others.
Facing the tide
Our protagonist has done something very interesting. Instead of cutting prices, he has entered the market with a new premium product. In fact, the premium product was accompanied by a higher price point. And the – perhaps – surprising thing is that the market launch was successful, with no sales problems. There is a secret behind it: the product is first class. Easy for him, you might say. But the reality is that this decision involves huge risks. He didn’t decide to do it because he had a hunch or a simple idea. He did market research, produced analyses and then went through the development stages. And that is very important! The idea is the basis, but it is far from a guarantee of success. If not followed by a proper process, it cannot be successful. When we play football, I should not be where the ball is, but where the ball will be!
Does proactivity change everything?
When I say proactivity, you can think of something very complicated and abstract. But that’s not what it is. In reality, it is “just” an attitude and a way of working. Perhaps it can be summed up as not waiting. I don’t expect more than I have to, because I want to keep my entrepreneurial life under control. Does the client not need marketing consultation now? No problem, when can I call you back and we can talk again? Did he ask us for a quote? Of course I’ll send it to him and call him in three days to see if he needs anything else. I’m not doing anything new, just changing the way I work. A lot of people are working with the same methodology as they did a few years ago, or in an up-and-coming market. What was enough then will certainly only get you limited results now. Simply because the market has changed, so clients want something different.
So should I push?
No! I don’t like people who try to shove things down my throat at all costs. In fact, proactivity is not even about that. But I have to listen to my clients if I want to serve them effectively. You mentioned in December that you wanted to design a brand identity, so here’s my chance to call you and talk about it! Your request may no longer be current, but she still has a positive feeling that I listened. And if I promise to look for you, I’ll be sure to do so. Any quotes issued will be followed by further interaction. Now, one or two touches are not enough to generate a customer from an enquirer. In a recently completed campaign, the average customer encountered our ad 6.5 times. In the end, more than 10% of them converted and we reached our goal with them. But here again, the key was not to turn it off halfway through the campaign and 2.5 touches, but to follow through.
Everything used to be better
I often meet entrepreneurs who complain. They only see the negative in the current situation. Sure, your situation may be difficult, but it’s almost certainly not hopeless. I can’t say I’m happy either. Whereas for a marketing agency this could be a huge growth point. The entrepreneurs who see the solution in more publicity are all potential clients for us. You simply have to innovate. Back to the entrepreneur at the beginning. He started by saying that you need to work harder now. Maybe the solution is as simple as that for you. The equation has changed, the end result that used to require 6 clients may now require 10. And if those extra 4 clients don’t find you, then there’s no choice but to be proactive. You may now need the reserves from previous years. You may have to reduce your profit margin. But there is a way out, and you need to focus your thoughts on what your market needs now. The best way to do this is to talk to your customers about their challenges and problems. You might just find a new product or service that gets you out of trouble.
Full calendar, now!?
The world is changing. Everyone is looking to save money right now, which means that unless your product is a savings, it’s not an ideal time. I have a friend who picks a motto for himself every year. This year there is only one word: proactivity. Whenever we talk, his calendar is full and he never worries or complains. He’s like this because he knows that if he works more now, his income won’t go down. It’s like an investment. Later, with this intensity (and the clients he has now), he will earn more. At first this attitude will demand more, but later your business will blossom irresistibly like a flower garden.