Business optimism is a state of mind

The instant insight Business Optimism survey was launched at the beginning of the month and we have had over 70 businesses participate.

Designed as a barometer of how business leaders are feeling we asked one simple question: ‘Based on the experiences of the last two weeks how optimistic do you feel about the future of the business?’ and asked why they felt that way.

The instant insight survey took less than a minute to complete and we have gathered rich and detailed insights that we are able to share with you today which we hope will benefit you as a leader:

Six out of Ten leaders feel optimistic about the future of their business

57% feel optimistic about the future of their business and 10% do not. One third were unsure how they feel. When looking at the reasons for the ‘optimism’ rating it is not conclusive that optimism is linked to performance.

In a nutshell:

  • Optimism does not appear to be linked to what Covid Tier you are located
  • Optimism is not linked to the sector that you are in
  • Optimism is linked to how you perceive the opportunities in your sector, your
    location and not your circumstances

“With disruption comes opportunity.”

“The best opportunities appear in times of stress and upheaval.”

Whilst some businesses are thriving during this time some are seeing the opportunity to work on their businesses, take time to reflect and think about how they can re-engineer their businesses to be ready for the transition to recovery.

For those that are unsure, the reasons are grounding in overwhelming uncertainty and worry for the future “These are difficult times with uncertainty over how covid will develop, potential further lockdowns and economy not growing as predicted.”

Staying focused on what is possible and what you can do appears to be the most common observable conclusion on staying optimistic. Whilst uncertainty remains as we have no idea how long Covid will impact on our ability to recover and what the impact of Brexit will be on the economy the only choice is how to respond. Do you focus on all the problems and barriers or do you look at what and where are the opportunities?

One thing for sure is that mental resilience is vital for leaders but the ability to be optimistic is a chicken and egg situation – what happens first, optimism and then seeing opportunities or your circumstances change and then you feel optimism?

It is clear from the findings that the former is true but we often mistakenly believe our wellbeing is wrapped up in success and not in the enthusiastic quest of new opportunities. Perhaps the only way to survive the pandemic is to explore all the possibilities and what you can do.

We have developed instant insight, a solution to help businesses gather feedback and interpret the results. In response to the pandemic, businesses have used instant insight to ensure team members feel safe at work, keep remote team members feeling engaged and motivated, and keep up with the changing needs of customers.

Find out more about how instant insight can help your business here and if you would like to join the business optimism survey please do let us know and we will continue to share the latest results as they emerge.

Our 6 CX Tips to Recovery

This year has been tough for many of us both personally and professionally. Even the businesses that have been successful during the pandemic will have found new challenges and hurdles to overcome. There are though a number of actions we can all take now to recover business and get back on track.

As we head into the final quarter of 2020 we have put together six top Customer Experience (CX) tips to help you recover your business and prepare for 2021.

  1. Communicate communicate communicate

Between now and the end of the year it is crucial that all of your customers have some form of communication from yourselves. The best way to do this is by talking to them. We have professional firm clients who have picked up the phone and simply asked their customers how they were. This led to numerous conversations and in one case a solicitor called 50 of his clients and picked up 12 new pieces of work. There is of course method in making such calls but all it needs to start with is: “I’m just ringing to see how you are and how you’re getting on. How are you?”  Your customers will talk and you will be able to identify their issues and then be able to help them.

  1. Ask for feedback

Now is the time to ask your customers for feedback. Their views on the world would’ve changed and possibly what they need from you would’ve changed too. You could start 2021 carrying on as normal and only find out by default six months down the line that what you’re delivering no longer meet the needs of your customers. It’s not rocket science to ask for feedback and many customers really appreciate it because it shows that you care. However, there is obviously a method of doing it in the right way to get the right results and a high participation. So think carefully about what your objectives are and script some tight questions that are going to give you the outputs to allow you to make the best decisions.

  1. Love your team

Your team, like yourself, have possibly had a very difficult year. Some of them may have worked tirelessly through the pandemic and feel tired and frustrated and have worn your own pain in amongst their working day. Others may have been furloughed and returned to work not understanding the change that has occurred within the business and therefore are left feeling unsure about what their role and contribution is in the future. In both scenarios, they need to be loved. One way to love them is to ask them how they feel and for their input into the future direction of the business. There are many ways to do this such as focus groups, surveys or just one-to-one discussions. The most important thing is that you take decisive action after the feedback. We recently conducted focus groups with one of our client’s team and the number one concern of the group was that the management would do nothing with the feedback. To ensure they did respond to the feedback, we mentored their management group to see the project through to its entirety. Communicating this back to their team has had a huge effect on morale and every week the team can see their ideas being introduced.

  1. Spell out the 2021 vision

Some of your team may not feel secure at the moment and when this occurs rumours creep and speculation in the tea room or online is rife. So in the last quarter of this year taking the team through the vision for the next three years with a real focus on 2021 will get everybody focused on what you’re trying to achieve. This doesn’t have to be long winded, it can be really simple. For example, we have a client who put together four simple messages with four Powerpoint slides and took the team through the vision in 45 minutes. The effect it had on the team was very positive as they knew their role and what the company was trying to achieve. As leaders, we often take for granted that everybody knows where we’re going in truth it is often the reverse.

  1. Take a moment for you

You may be running a business, managing a team, or working on the frontline. Whatever it is you would’ve experienced new challenges this year and those challenges may have changed you as a person and reshaped your personality. You may have felt euphoric one minute and down in the dumps for next. What is really important is that you reflect and think quietly about what’s gone well and what has been challenging for you personally. Doing just that will help rationalise your thoughts.

Give yourself a pat on the back for how you have coped this year. If you’re able to do it, think about working out how you continue with the good work you’ve done more professionally in 2021 would be a great step forward.

  1. Start mapping the journey

Some businesses have been very successful during the pandemic and others have had a real struggle. There were very few that had been normal. The businesses that have been very successful have had all of their processes and people stretched to the maximum. We work with an IT supplier where turnover has tripled in seven months. The team are tired and their processes are very fragile. We are now working with them to map the key journey of their core processes to identify ways they can streamline the process and most importantly deliver a much better customer experience. In just two sessions their lives have already become significantly easier.

The same applies to some of our clients who have had a tough time. They no longer have so many staff and they have had to reinvent the way in which they work in order to deliver the same outcome to their customers with less in-house resource. Again, we can help them by sitting down with a team to map in the customer journey to find new ways of working, for example, new technologies they can implement which would enable them to streamline and be leaner in 2021.

Conclusion

It’s been a tough year for many of us but if you start working on your business with some of the suggestions above in the final quarter there is no reason at all why 2021 couldn’t be one of your most successful years to date. It’s about focus and planning and application and if we can help you with any of those things, or indeed you would just like to have a chat, because we do care about you, then feel free to let us know.