A stark difference exists between peacetime and wartime in your business. 2020, for example, has been all-out war: a relentless campaign to attack obstacles and maintain powerful resistance against unprecedented business pressures. Many prior years, by contrast, were much more straightforward—peaceful, calm, and easy to navigate.
As we’ve been pushing forward on our September concept, WARTIME CEO, many business professionals have been asking; what is the difference between wartime and peacetime? And how can we discern these differences and adjust before everything falls apart?
You can tell the difference. Once you’re trained in what to look for, the red flags are easy to spot. Here are two indicators to watch:
“Friction” is one of the first things I look for when I’m evaluating a peacetime vs. wartime mindset. Simply put, I define friction as “the level of difficulty with which you can convince a customer to part with money.” Obviously, I’m discussing transactions for your product or service, but this data point is extremely important to watch. Is the length of your sales cycle creeping up? Are your closing ratios dropping? Is it harder to connect with people now than it was earlier in the year?
If your sales friction is increasing—it’s becoming more difficult to close the deal—you’re in WARTIME.
Sometimes this friction escalates quickly. Our sales team at Obsessed Academy had a very strong closing rate during the first quarter of 2020, but as soon as the world locked down in March, that rate of connection dropped—significantly! When people are in “survival mode,” the last thing they want to do is talk to a salesperson. Part of developing a “WARTIME CEO” mentality—in your leadership and with your team—is overcoming this hurdle, and in fact OA has been able to grow significantly since that initial shift by implementing the same “WARTIME CEO” mentality I’m referencing here. Overcoming those hurdles is one of the specific points we’ll be breaking down on September 26 at the “WARTIME CEO” virtual bootcamp.
This year has been extremely unconventional, with market shifts happening at lightning speed as the pandemic clamped down. Has your business been hit hard in 2020? Whether you can answer yes or no, are you ready for the next round of more typical market shifts? Most don’t happen in two weeks, but over a longer period of time. A year, a quarter or two . . . declines are typically gradual, sometimes to the point that you can miss them instead of catching them early. If you’re attentive, you’re typically able to look at your data and define when things began to shift––and not in your favor. Look at your data from the last 24 months, not just the last 7: would you say that more friction or less friction exists between you and your profit than you saw two years ago?
A “WARTIME CEO” mentality doesn’t always mean that you’re at war in your work. As I mentioned above, 2020 has been a textbook year for going to war in your market, but many companies have managed to thrive during this time of uncertainty. Food delivery companies, small businesses that have shifted to technology-forward platforms, certain online and brick-and-mortar retailers, and various other businesses are experiencing growth despite 2020’s overall market retreat.
Therefore, as we’re going to break down in the WARTIME CEO bootcamp, you should examine not just one, but two environments to determine if you’re “at war” or “in peacetime.” The first is your internal environment, which consists of your employees, profit margins, culture, and other factors not directly related to client-facing experiences. The second is your external environment, which consists of the market, political unrest, local laws, and other factors outside of your direct control that affect how you would conduct business.
It’s important to understand both key indicators—friction and environment—because between your business and your market, one might be in peacetime while the other is entering wartime. Startup companies that grew out of incredibly robust economies are great case studies for this disparity. The companies that start in a time of economic growth and certainty aren’t facing the closures, unrest, health advisories, economic uncertainty, and other factors that exist in 2020. However, the absence of 2020’s unique climate does not mean that such companies are in a time of peace. In fact, despite a tranquil external environment, they’re likely fighting to move from inception to profitability; from a small team to a self-sustaining infrastructure. They’re fighting to grow without breaking the bank, and to attack an opportunity before their window of opportunity closes. They are in the WARTIME mentality internally even though the market represents peacetime externally.
As you’re evaluating your position, and determining how you should adjust to attack opportunities, I encourage you to take two action steps:
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