5 Business Insights From 2020
Sean Atkinson, Managing Director, ESB International
No one can deny it’s been a challenging year that has taught us all many things about our society and about how we conduct our business.
In addition to the obvious challenges Covid brought, there are several other issues facing many of our clients, including increasing network access, generation diversification and low carbon future strategies, unbundling traditional utilities and the liberalisation of energy markets. Priorities that all continued regardless of the pandemic. Despite the difficulties we faced there are positive insights to be gained from the year gone by which we shouldn’t let slip away.
On that basis, I wanted to share some of the insights that we in ESB International have used to shape our business positively over the last 12 months.
1. Trust your people
What has ensured our resilience through this time of crisis has been the trust, autonomy and responsibility we give to our people. Being a global consultancy company for over 45 years we had a head start in this area in that we already had teams of people based around the world with many working remotely. At the same time, we all still had to work closely together and bring all our skills to the fore to address the challenges faced by our business and our clients’ businesses through the pandemic in 2020. If you have the right people in your business, they will always be your best asset.
2. Be adaptable
The businesses that succeed through times of crisis are the ones that learn to adapt. This has been especially true of 2020 but it will always apply to any business that succeeds over the long-term. At the same time during times of crisis, it’s equally important to not over-react. Take the time to review the responses you already have in place, as no doubt, if you are well prepared, there will be many existing processes that will be fit for purpose to help bring your business through this new challenge. It’s back to the adage of needing to be proactive, not reactive.
3. Embrace digitisation
We know businesses were heading to an ever-increasing digital world but undoubtedly that future has been accelerated. Instead of dwelling on what is not possible, look for the potential that may not have been fully appreciated before. Engaging clients, partners, and stakeholders has still been possible, just in a different way by incorporating even more digital marketing strategies into the communication mix. More people are now online, and this will only increase and needs to be embraced as a positive. If you have not already adapted your strategy, then now is the time to do it.
4. Adapt sales strategies
In addition to the digitisation of marketing, there have been massive changes to how businesses, including our own, look at our sales strategy. Even before the pandemic, the sales mission for a responsive company was to act as a problem solver for their clients, and never before has this been so important. The key to success has been listening to the nuanced problems each client faces and working together to resolve them, all the while adapting how we do business to meet changing clients’ needs.
5. Listen and Communicate
The remote working enforced on us over recent months has, at times, provided an opportunity to get closer to clients and partners. As we all could empathise with the difficulties each other was facing it has been an opportunity to strengthen existing relationships. Vital to this has been ensuring existing communication channels were kept open and, where necessary, developing new ways of interacting. Internal communication has been equally important, listening to staff and working together to ensure the practicalities of adapting to a remote working environment did not have an impact on the quality of work delivered for our clients.
Despite significant remote service delivery, our clients, who may not have been able to meet us in person, still trusted in our commitment and drive to deliver for them. The proof is that they continued to entrust us with ongoing business. Our promise to them is to not forget the learnings from this year, but instead to continue to adapt to provide better services in a post-pandemic world. We look forward to increased growth and to supporting new and existing clients in their aim to recover and prosper in the post-Covid era.
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