I’ve been careful not to put too much virus-related content on my podcast, because we’re going to get through it. And the world is going to go back to some degree normal, although some things have probably changed forever. But I actually think it’s vital to get the lessons while you’re having them, and no point, well, there is a point looking back. But it’s so much better when you’re in the moment.
1. Be ready and prepared for what you can’t prepare for
The first thing is, and this is a paradox. But you have to be ready and prepared for what you can’t prepare for. Because virtually, no one on the planet other than a few conspiracy theorists and very wise people, prepared or planned for a global pandemic.
In fact, in America, the budget was cut for that. And of course, because it happens what? 100 years it seems the Plague, the Black Death. It’s something like, you know, most people don’t plan for something that happens once every 100 years. But the important thing, is, to prepare for what you can’t plan and prepare for.
Because recessions – they come every 15 years. but they always come in different guise. Because if they were like they were last time, you’ll be able to prepare for them, and you’ll be ready. You have to have a crisis management plan for the thing you can’t plan for. You have to have a plan B, a plan C, a plan D, a plan E, or be able to create that plan really quickly for something that you can’t plan for. You have to be ready even when you’re not ready.
2. Be ready to change your business model
The second thing, is, you have to be ready and be able to, and be lean enough and agile enough to pivot and change your business model at a moment’s notice. Because Kodak created digital photography. Blockbuster created video rental. And they didn’t survive dramatic changes in market and human need and trends.
We run 850 training courses a year. And so, pivoting immediately onto online for us was our big challenge. The last 2 to 3 weeks is the fastest we’ve worked in the last 15 years. And so, this has been some great upside to that. But I should have been a bit more ready. Thankfully, I’ve had lots of ideas and lots of courses I want to do online. But of course, we’re doing so many physical events, which were successful and people like the connection, which they’re going to like again, by the way, outside of this, when you have no human connection for 3 months. Even despite all this, I think physical events will have their rebirth.
But we had to pivot really quickly, and change really quickly. We had a wildly successful ecommerce launch just a couple of days ago. Money now is worth 10 times more, isn’t it, if you think about it, not because of inflation, but because a sale is worth a lot more now to a business owner who is maybe finding it harder. Be ready to pivot and change your model at a moment’s notice. Because if you don’t, you’re going to get evolved out. Because evolution is almost like revolution. It’s happening quicker than ever at the speed of the internet. Everything is so quick.
3. You know nothing
The third thing, is, when you think you know a lot, remember you know nothing at all. You know nothing, Jon Snow. I’ve got 15 years’ experience in events, in marketing. And occasionally, I start to think, you know what? I’m doing all right. I’ve got some experience here. The humbling of mother nature and the whole reset of the world makes me realised I know nothing.
And so, your ability to learn fast, your ability to be humble, your ability to become a student again. To assume nothing, to learn everything. To be quick. To be fast. To be hungry. To be open. There are your great skills right now. Because sometimes, the experience you’ve had for the last decade accounts for nothing. In fact, it hinders you in this challenging time.
4. Data & KPIs
The 4th thing, is, you need to get more regular KPIs, more regular data, more regular sales reports. I get event report 3 times a week, marketing report once a week, revenue report once a week, sales as they came in individually. I realise I need daily reports now. I should have daily dashboard. Now, I’ve known this. But it’s taken the virus to teach me that, actually. You need to know what’s selling every day. Some people want to know what’s selling every hour. So, you’re getting a proper KPI dashboard, and knowing what you sell every hour, every day. It’s vital.
And we’ve been doing that now, because times are different. And I should have done that before. I slap myself in the face. Wake up, Rob, you idiot. But why did it take a virus to teach me that I’ve already knew it? My laptop is falling on the floor. My phone is falling on the floor.
Next then, you should fairly regularly check in all your direct debits, all your expenses, all your outgoings, all your invoices, and all your overheads, fixed and variable. And just check that you’re paying in the right areas, and you’re not overpaying, or you’re not paying for things you shouldn’t be paying for anymore. Or, you’re not bloated, but you’re lean.
Of course, when this happened everyone did that, didn’t they? They went to cancel all their direct debits. They went and check all their overheads. And they cut costs. But you should be doing that regularly. You should probably be doing that every month. Maybe, we didn’t do that enough.
My business partner, Mark Homer, he’s very good at that. But he’d probably admit, you know, he’d got himself busy in other areas, and probably didn’t do that as much as he could. So, it’s taken the biggest disruption ever to UK businesses, and maybe, global businesses to actually go, do you know what? We should be checking our expenses regularly, and make sure we’re lean, and not bloated.
The next thing, is, in the times of struggle, you get to see loyalty from both sides. The people who you helped, the people who you reached out to, the people who you want to support, who you’re there for, you show your loyalty to them. Because in these times, everyone is saying ah, well, you know who your friends are and know who’s loyal to you? What about who are you loyal to?
You see loyalty from both sides. You see who’s loyal to you. You see who you’re loyal to. Hopefully, that’s your staff, your clients, your suppliers, your contacts, your friends, your partners. But we get a chance to show who you really are to help people, to show loyalty, to offer extra value. And as such, you really get to see that right now. And it’s not just one way on who’s loyal to you.
7. Re-evaluate your value proposition
The next thing, No. 7, is, you should always re-evaluate your value proposition, your offer, your price elasticity, your fair exchange, the utility and value of your product and service, the relevance of it to the market you’re in. And a lot of people don’t change for years, and years, and years, and years. They get lazy and complacent. Usually, a fair market and competition will get that complacency out of you, otherwise you lose to your competitors. But man, the greatest level that we’ve seen in 100 years had done that for us.
And now, everyone is re-evaluating their products and services. They either put them online or creating extra value on how we can help and support, and how can we trade through this. We’ve got the double, or triple, or quadruple down on our value. We’ve gone monthly masterminding to weekly masterminding. We put a lot of our courses online that weren’t online. We’ve put extra value into our premium online like Facebook Supporters for Progressive Property and Rob Moore, and also, the Patreon programme. I’ve put 2 to 3 times more content out there.
You should re-evaluate and improve your value proposition all the time every month, not only when there is an apocalypse.
8. Be quicker
The next thing, and I’ve got a small amount of smugness about this. I will admit with humility, of course. But I’ve been saying to my team forever, because it annoys them. We’ve got to be quicker. We’ve got to be quicker. We’ve got to quicker. Quicker, quicker, quicker, quicker, quicker, quicker. And it frustrates them. And they’ll like, ah yeah, but you have to do this, and you have to do that. And you have to wait for this. You have to wait for that. And you have to set this up. You’ve got to let this person knows, this person knows, and this person knows. And this and that. And this and that. And I’m like, quicker, quicker, quicker, quicker.
Honestly, I think it’s okay to say, they’ve not really been listening to me. And to a certain degree, I’d probably bought into, okay, let’s be a meeting then, and a meeting, and a meeting. Let’s go down the management levels. We have to do some testing, and all this and all that.
Right now, you’ve got no freaking time for that. You’ve got to decide fast and act fast. Decide today. Act today. Implement today. Stop messing around. Stop procrastinating. Get it done. No excuses. That’s kind of me, and who I am.
A few of my team members said to me, Rob, we started working at Progressive 10 years ago. When you come in all excited about an idea, haven’t we been up half the night and have a coffee? And we get that launched that same day or that same week, not that same month or that same year, or that same decade.
The little smugness in me, is finally, you get it. It’s the quick and the dead. So, decision, and action, and testing, and implementation needs to be so much quicker in today’s world.
It’s not evolution anymore. It’s revolution. Now, of course, there are caveats to that, of course. You can’t do anything too fast. If it’s health and safety regulation, it has to take a certain amount of time to be safe, but quick. You can still be quick. You can be quicker.
9. Don’t wait
No. 9 then, don’t wait for freaking disaster to get resourceful, relentless, committed, focussed, passionate, enthusiastic. Don’t wait for the next apocalypse for that to happen. You are infinitely resourceful. You are relentless in the passion in the pursuit of your highest value and the thing that you want to do the most, and the mission, and the message that you have. You have everything you need within you: the hunger, the desire, the drive, the energy, the passion, the enthusiasm, the ability to take rejection, the resilience, the grit, the determination, the linear focus. You have it all. But it’s latent within too many people. And it’s taken a disaster for many people to wake that up.
10. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Then No. 10, don’t sweat the small stuff. Let’s be honest. We all sweat petty things. We all argue over menial. We let the menial trump the meaningful. And right now, there are so many of the small things don’t matter. Arguments, and debates, and criticisms, and trolls on social media don’t matter. What someone says about you, doesn’t matter. What matter is health, safety, loyalty. Keeping your business going. Surviving or even thriving. Adding extra value. Being a person of support. A person of influence. That’s what matters now, and really nothing else does.
There are my 10 vital business lessons from the virus so far. I’ll have more, by the way. I wanted to do one that will supersede, and transcend, and outlast the virus.