Forward To Normal

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July 13th, 2020 Devon Els

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Richard Mulholland, Founder of Missing Link recently presented his talk ‘Forward To Normal’ on the TEDx CapeTown virtual stage. Discussing how your business can adapt during an abrupt change and how Missing Link did just that.

The idea of ‘forward to normal’, is to not wait for things to go back to normal. There is no normal, there is only before, during and after. Missing Link’s world exists around live audiences and within 24-hours of the SA lockdown being announced, bringing with it the end to live events, our companies revenue went to 0%. All of our clients called in to postpone and cancel their events.

David Newman said, “A bend in the road is never fatal – unless you forget to turn.”

This got us thinking and making changes. Our clients said we pivoted, but we didn’t, we took one small step. We embraced this idea of Atomic Adjacency(coined by Matt Symes), having the agility and immediate responsiveness in any abruptly changing environment. For us, this was making one small change that could have a halo effect over our reputation but still help us serve our customers. Let’s jump into the steps we took to bring us back to where we were and then take us even further.

Step 1: Know your nemesis:

Identify the enemy holding you back; hint, it’s not COVID-19, rather the effects of it. For us, this was companies cancelling their events. We had to fight their belief that they would not be able to run their events and wait for things to go back to normal. We needed to convince them to take their events online. Think of it this way, every problem that exists in the world creates a market for new solutions. Waiting out the storm could prove fatal to your business. Instead, find the problem and fill the gap.

Step 2: Narrow the field

We knew we had to help companies get their events online, but so did every other business in our field. We needed to take this from a 5 horse race to a 2 horse race, where it is us versus the top of the other 4. We decided to give away tools so companies could take their events online themselves. We didn’t want people to hire us to get them online, we wanted them to hire us to help them be better once they were there.

Step 3: Give them a reason-to-believe

Once you have convinced them that this is the problem you are solving, you have to then convince them you are the one to do it, even if that means jumping off a cliff and building a parachute on the way down. We discovered that in an area that lacks an expert, whoever puts their hand up first and says “I am the expert,” everyone’s going to believe them.

This also includes narrowing your conversation. It’s great to share information on an array of topics but if you can narrow it down to amplify your message you will have greater success. We want to be known for one thing really really loudly, rather than lots of things really quiet.

Step 4: Give them a reason-to-engage

So you have nailed it to the wall, your customers all believe that you are the leader, but what is going to make them engage? Why should they call you? It’s about asking your customers what they need so they know what to buy. We were throwing spaghetti at the roof and seeing what stuck until we knew what the market wanted.

Step 5: Double Down

Once your audience knows why to engage and you know what works, double down on it. It’s ok to be a one-trick pony, provided it’s a really good trick. After 23 years of Missing Link being one thing, we had shifted to 100% new products and brought our company back to 100% revenue.

It’s not about going back to normal, it’s about going forward to normal. Future you is watching, how you behave and the decisions you make. Will future you be proud of those decisions?

We invite you to continue the conversation over on LinkedIn. What small change did your business have to make to take you forward to normal?

If you missed the live session you can watch the replay below. If you have taken your events online and need a backstage crew to help you take it to the next level, check out our CloudCrew.


Posted by Devon Els

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