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    Business proposition design: Making proposition mean more

    If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, what makes us think selling the same old stuff is going to work, when everything around us has changed?  

    People have changed; their beliefs, their values, their priorities, their lifestyles, their status. Markets have changed; most are in recession, consumer behaviour is unrecognisable, run away successes are leapfrogging, institutions are falling over. Society has changed; collectivism has infilled corporate and government deficits, and while it is still to be tested, there seems to be a conscience that suggests we won’t put things back the way they were before.

    No matter how deep your head is buried in the sand, belligerence can’t save you now. Big change is here and it’s here to stay.

    Every time of depression has been followed by periods of disruption and advancement: necessity is the mother of invention. So how are you preparing to capitalise on the opportunity CoVid has presented us? Here are a few steps to follow.

    1.     Obsess about your results

    What has changed? What has gone up and what has gone down and why? How has your supply chain been affected? Has what you are known for changed? If you don’t know this, you are flying blind. Track the impact of lockdown, and sentiment, and engage your customers to test and confirm your segments and your assumptions.

    2.     Decide the direction for change

    On the basis of your insights around where you have traction and where you don’t, what needs to shift? Be prepared to let albatrosses go – you need to stay nimble, not nostalgic. What are the impacts on your P&L and what needs to happen to make this new direction profitable? Can you leverage your learnings to ensure you craft a smarter business and do even better than you were before?

    3.     Design your proposition

    This is more than just a CVP or EVP, it’s much more than marketing, a business proposition needs to permeate every aspect of your operations to really change the way you work, and how your customers experience your business. And it should be creative, distinct, and damn clever. It should inform your mission, operations, distribution, pricing, service design, customer experience, NPD, CSR, recruitment, communications, your brand. It’s the whole package, not just the skin on the outside or the promises you make but don’t deliver.

    4.     Operationalise

    Put this into practice. Reorganise your team to make it happen. Shape your culture to make it possible. Design new KPIs to reward great. Report on your achievements. Iterate and improve. Create a roadmap, pointing to a BHAG you can use to account for your progression and keep you honest.

    Some of these directional changes will be big, some will be more incremental. But change you must. As McKinsey analysed learnings from the GFC, they concluded resilience lies in margin, growth and optionality. Failure to think through an alternative future will see you left behind and unable to catch up.

    The good news is smaller, leaner businesses can do this faster, without layered bureaucracy or compliance to slow you down. Agility is everything. Entrepreneurialism will win out.

    And if you haven’t done that before, worry not, we have. So let’s make some change.