As scary and disruptive as the COVID- 19 pandemic has been, it’s not without its silver linings. As business consultants, we tendto focus on those positives that involvebusinesses. For instance, while manystate governments tried to differentiatebetween “essential” and “non-essential”businesses, many American businessowners focused on finding ways theycould continue providing their goodsand/or services without endangeringthe public or their own employees.
For example, restaurants moved tooffer socially distanced outside seatingand curbside pick-up or “to go” orders,while grocery stores and other retailbusinesses limited the number of customers allowed in their stores at onetime. Best Buy set up sales counters outside its front doors, so customers couldpick up orders they’d purchased onlinequickly and safely.
How did these businesses adapt toan unexpected business disruption soquickly and effectively? They had a clearbusiness strategy.
Simple answer, yet it’s an approach
that many independent advisory firm
owners can learn from; it also can make
it easier for advisory firms to adapt and
respond to current and future disrup-
tions. Advisory businesses thriving dur-
ing these disruptive times are clear about
their business strategy. While a Google
search will result in myriad of conflicting
definitions of that term, we simply tell
our clients it is: “The working plan that
carries out your vision.”
That may sound simplistic, but it real-
ly doesn’t have to be complicated. Think
about it — what do the physical Best Buy
stores do? They sell electronics for those
who can’t wait for them to be delivered
by mail. When the pandemic hit, it was
a no-brainer for Best Buy to keep selling
electronics to those who didn’t want to
wait for their Amazon deliveries, and it
moved these sales curbside.
Local restaurants may be an evenbetter example. Those thriving todayare clear about their business strategy.They make great food — usually of acertain kind — and they provide a niceplace for people to eat it. When thephysical restaurants were ordered toclose, many restaurant owners fell backon their central business strategy andasked themselves, “How do we continueto make great food and get it to customers?” The answer was selling it curbsideand delivering it.
WHY YOU NEED CLARITY TOO
Having a clear business strategy isessential for you as an advisory owner,particularly during disruptions such asthe present one. When we look at a firm,we can tell right away whether its ownerknows what its strategy is (or not) — andit’s particularly evident these days.
Diving deeper, we view a businessstrategy is a framework that guides yourdecisions, such as how you allocate timeand resources. Growing a business confronts you with a series of choices, andhaving a clear business strategy can helpyou make those choices — particularlythose that compete and/or conflict witheach other. The larger a firm is, thegreater the importance of a strategy tohelp it allocate resources, since there’smore to lose.
For instance, consider how you intendto grow your firm. You likely want moreclients. Do you grow through organic
The COVID- 19 pandemic is the quintessential time to rely on your businessstrategy, so make sure you have a clear one.
THE FAST TRACK
By Angie Herbers
Advisory businessesthriving during thesedisruptive times areclear about theirbusiness strategy.While a Googlesearch will result inmyriad of conflictingdefinitions of thatterm, we simplytell our clients it is:“The working planthat carries outyour vision.”