In the modern age of political, social, and environmental chaos, 2020 has emerged as a pivotal point for every world citizen.

While personal circumstances are changing dramatically for some, others seem to be immune to effects and even seem to thrive during times of uncertainty and change. Some of this is luck based on where people live or the nature of their work requirements. Some of it is because of good planning for troubled times. Some of it is because of an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability (and willingness) to make proactive changes to adapt and excel.

Whatever circumstances a given business find itself in, one truth is common among all—things have changed, and our economic system has new risks to be considered.

This change can be an INCREDIBLY good thing! Change brings new opportunities.

It can also be INCREDIBLY difficult to adapt to change, so new opportunities have many hidden pitfalls and risks that must be considered today when conducting business, including:

  • Health risks to employees
  • Availability (and turnover) of employees due to illness
  • Health risks to customers and vendors
  • Risks to life and business property due to social unrest
  • Ability to effectively market to potential and existing customers
  • Ability of customers to afford current spend level
  • Ability of customers to survive
  • Exposures due to shipping and logistics disruptions
  • Risk of PR problems due to social perception
  • Availability of future financing
  • Impending economic recession (or depression)

Profits may be the ultimate goal of a healthy company, but if people are not the core, operational, functional focus of a company’s policies and behavior, trouble is waiting just around the corner. A profit-focused company with platitudes and social media posts to (falsely) pat itself on the back is too much in the public spotlight to avoid negative research (like the PPP databases) or avoid being tattled on to government officials for not living up to health requirements—the public is too unforgiving for missteps. It is no longer enough to pretend to care—exposure is an imminent risk for posers.

If a business is people-focused, they will build healthy relationships with three primary types of entities:

  • Regulatory
  • Employees
  • Customers

Relationship Building – Regulatory

Most organizations tend to want avoid contact with anything governmental—interactions with government officials can be costly, time consuming, and painful. Sometimes even the best attempts to “do the right thing” fall short and cause problems—government officials ARE people too.

As with all relationships, communication is key, but timing can make or break an interaction. Too much information can be a bad thing, but so can too little information. Since the modern environment has many hidden pitfalls, it is often a wise practice to proactively find friends in key agencies that might be able to assist with navigation through quickly shifting health policies and practices. Proactive relationship building can help avoid future suspicion scenarios.

Relationship Building – Employees

Of all the relationships that must be nurtured by business management, this is probably the toughest and most expensive relationship to mess up—your employees, their work ethic, and their ability to build successful relationships (with regulatory, customers, and vendors) is key to the group’s collective survival.

Happy employees are crucial to building a successful organization. Unhappy employees are expensive and can lead to the loss of customers or problems with regulatory authorities.

Unfortunately, the current environment has led to many broken employee/employer relationships. Much of this is due to health (and related) circumstances. Much is due to shifting corporate environments (like pay cuts and bonus slashes) and resulting job migrations. Some of it is due to other societal issues.

Whatever the cause and reason, the employee relationship has a fragility and high cost associated with it that cannot be ignored.

Relationship Building – Customers

Customers are incredibly important because their resources drive revenues—without their ongoing support, there is no life blood for any profit-based organization.

Relationships with customers today are more crucial than they ever have been, and smart companies will find ways to add EXTRA value to their customers. In the modern supply chain, your customers may need the support AND partnership of their vendors to survive. If the supply chain fails at your customer’s level, it hurts you too.

While governmental, employee, and vendor relationships are largely managed using COST-management philosophies, customer relationships have traditionally been conducted using REVENUE-building techniques.

However, in the modern environment, the most innovative ways to add EXTRA value to your customers may not cost you anything other than extra attention and concern. By strategic collaboration with customers, costs of doing business may actually be REDUCED, and economies of scale and synergistic byproducts can raise all boats simultaneously and dramatically.

Tying It All Together – Using Technology to Build Relationships

How long have tools like Zoom and Cloud Computing been around? How many organizations embraced these BEFORE the 2020 pandemic? (How many suddenly started?)

Collaborative technologies have been available for a long time. Organizations change slowly, and often not until forces push them to change.

Nobody is immune to forceful pushing by change in early 2020, and most people are willing to listen to options that will make things easier.

Some things to consider:

  • What if you were able to leverage your transactional information to provide proactive, helpful reports to ALL of your relationship partners?
  • What if your trading partners shared their transactional information with you?
  • How much impact would it have to conduct formal collaboration meetings with your relationship partners to proactively build bridges?
  • What if you were able to automate (and help your partners ALSO automate) transactional and financial workflows between your companies?
  • How helpful (through time, effort, and cost sharing) would it be to share warehouse space, employee and consultant talent, vendor resources, and other supply-chain enabling technologies with partners?

As you evaluate your options for building relationship bridges with your partners, many of your bottlenecks and challenges will come from lack of resources and experience (or even imagination).

Please consider a free analysis with Xcellerated Solutions—we have helped hundreds of businesses build successful and profitable bridges with their partners. We can help you leverage your data, your partners’ data, EDI, E-commerce, high technology using drones and AI, and other strategic options to take your business to the next level.

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