Talk to any business owner or CEO these days, and they will tell you that their biggest obstacles to growth have nothing to do with finding enough customers or landing new business. In fact, for many, the market has never been hotter. No, the biggest obstacles to growth in today’s marketplace are finding the people to deliver on the business and finding the products to fulfill the orders.
Inability to expand in today’s marketplace simply comes down to labor and supply chain – period. Solve those two issues, and you are definitely going to exceed your goals and outperform the competition.
But that is far easier said than done. Those are some tough challenges. In just November alone, more than 4.5 million people left their jobs willingly. Some with no other plan or job waiting for them. Why? Because they know they can. There is so much opportunity out there with a new job waiting just around the corner. It is definitely an employee’s market.
And the supply chain issue just keeps getting more and more complicated. At first, it was COVID, and then labor issues complicated things with no one to unload the cargo or drive the trucks. Now throw in the war in Ukraine, and this feels like an issue that is going to get worse, not better.
So how do you grow? How do you take advantage of the opportunity in the marketplace while dealing with these two major challenges? To borrow a term from the military, you “embrace the suck.” In other words, you face the challenges head-on and focus on what you can control, and push through the challenge to find the path forward. Here are five strategies to ensure you get there.
5 Strategies You Need NOW To Turn Your Two Biggest Obstacles Into Opportunity.
Work Your Network
Whether you are dealing with finding more products or finding more people, your network is going to be the answer. The more people you know, the more people you share your challenges with, and the more opportunity you will find. But to build your network, you have to invest in your network. In other words, reach out and help others so when you need help, they are willing to help you.
There is no challenge you face, no problem you have that someone in your network cannot help you solve. Yes, it is really that simple. At any moment in time, you are only one connection away from someone who can introduce you to a new supplier, help you find a new employee, or put you in touch with others whom you can work with to solve your challenges. Networking is a lifestyle, not a task, and one that you need to double down on in times of uncertainty.
Expand Your Reputation
The squeaky wheel gets the grease. The more important and known you are in the marketplace, the more you position your company as the organization that understands how to navigate change and uncertainty, the more employees are going to want to work with you; the more suppliers are going to want to support you. Everyone loves a winner, a success story, and wants to be a part of organizations that position themselves as positive and successful.
Now you can wait for suppliers and employees to figure that out, or you can create your own buzz in the marketplace and expand your reputation. I vote for the latter. Despite these challenges, you have amazing things going on in your company. New business you’ve landed, awards you have won, giving back to your community, and the list goes on.
Don’t wait for others to discover these things about you – put those messages out there. Work to dominate your marketplace, so employees and suppliers choose you over your competition.
Prospect From A Place of Power
Rather than waiting for suppliers and employees to choose you – you need to choose who you want to work with and who you want working for you. You need to prospect from a place of power. If you are waiting for new and alternative suppliers to knock on your door, that is going to get old and tired. If you are waiting for the best and brightest employees to come looking for a job, then you are going to have a lot of vacancies.
You need to understand that both finding the right team members and adding the right suppliers is a sales job – period—a proactive sales job. You need to go out and find who you want and treat attracting suppliers and employees just like you would find new customers. Create a prospect list, research, study, prepare your calls, and follow-up, follow-up.
Solve The Right Problem
Now you know employees are leaving their jobs because they are looking for something better, and they know they can find it. Suppliers want to ensure the limited product they have is going to get sold and delivered as efficiently and effectively as possible. If you want to be the company that top employees choose and the one suppliers prioritize, then you need to ensure you solve the right problem.
Employees will choose you over the competition because you understand them, not because they understand you. And suppliers will prioritize you over your competitors because you can solve their problems, not because they are solving yours.
The key to success in this marketplace is by solving the right problem- not your problems, THEIR problems.
Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up
Last but not least, follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. If you want to find the best employees, understand that it may take a while to lure them away from competitors or get them to choose you. The same with suppliers. Do not think this is about one call or one connection – no. You need a follow-up system where you stay in touch, add value to the relationship, and invest in them so they will invest in you.
Yes, these are challenging times for sure. But that does not mean you cannot be successful or that the problems in front of you cannot be solved. It just takes a little out-of-the-box thinking, a little innovative strategy, and before you know it, you have turned all of this uncertainty into your greatest opportunity.