If you are a fan of the Seattle Seahawks like I am, you know that Head Coach Pete Carroll craves a well-balanced offense. While his quarterback Russell Wilson is a superstar in the league, he believes that an offense that isn’t one-dimensional is best. In other words, an attack that features the running and passing games equally has the most upside for consistency and success.
He’s not alone in this thinking. The champions of the National Football League annually are the teams that have great balance not only in their offense, but also with their defense and special teams.
The data is clear, being a one-dimensional football team is a losing proposition.
That same approach should be taken in business. Being one-dimensional in a professional and corporate sense is leaving a company open to perils that might prove to be devastating.
I’d like to use the football metaphor of the three components of a football team – offense, defense, and special teams – to help illustrate my point. Let’s change offense, defense, and special teams into categories that better fit your “game:” Cash Flow, Security, and Human Resources.
Cash Flow (Offense):
Every business, regardless of size or industry, is dependent on cash flow. It pays the bills and the employees; it provides means to innovate and expand; and it affords both owners and employees to live comfortable lifestyles when done correctly.
Revenue Generation is that offensive engine. In order to assure consistent cash flow, a strategic plan around revenue generation is required. And the game plans of 2019 and before are now obsolete.
Every business should have a plan to develop products and/or services that meet the needs of its clients and customers in an abnormal new normal. That means seeking out ways to enhance service and be unique.
I went to Target recently to pick up some supplies that were available for pick up outside the store only, as I was in a quarantine situation. Through their mobile app, I was able to purchase what we needed, tell them when I was leaving, and then advise them that I arrived. I was able to tell them the style and color of my car and then parked in a designated spot.
Within two minutes of my arrival, an employee came out with my purchase, checked my code through a closed window, and then dropped it into my waiting trunk. I was gone in a total of three minutes.
That’s what the future looks like in service.
You can be as innovative as Target; in fact, I would suggest you are nimbler and more positioned to be as creative. The cost to build mobile applications is now more affordable. Online chat on your website is now being demanded by customers. Drop off and delivery are now expected. And concierge-style, just-in-time accessibility is willing to be paid for by clients that need that help.
The new decade and beyond will demand that you be more on demand, more thoughtful, more empathetic, and more accessible. That doesn’t mean you need to work harder. In fact, you should be able to create new offerings to existing products and services that might entail a bigger investment upfront, with more profitability in the long run.
Your assignment: Figure out how your business will make money in a new way next year and beyond. Be willing to change, to be smart, and to be fast. That way, you will be creating a cash flow that can be counted on to score touchdowns.
Creating a great cash flow without the means to secure it is negligent. Just like a football team with a great offense and a terrible defense, one simply may not be able to score enough points to win a game.
The 21st century has a lot of emerging perils to consider. Here are a few that are top of mind for me:
Cyber-attacks, Fraud (both digital and non-digital), Health Crises (COVID-19 won’t be the last), Political Unrest, Social Justice Challenges, Supply Chain Disruption, Weather Events, and Privacy Concerns…
Too many small businesses overlook planning for calamity. They often think that their insurance will cover them or that they are resilient and savvy enough to deal with anything.
If the pandemic showed us anything, it’s that insurance doesn’t cover everything, and we need to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to crisis and risk.
Your assignment: Conduct a full-blown assessment of your readiness and preparedness. Identify ways to prevent, respond to, and recover from the perils that most concern you. Purchase insurance to pay for things you can’t afford to pay and for where you have financial obligation and liability. And then set up a process to review at least quarterly.
Human Resources (Special Teams):
Your employees are the “special” in your special teams.
They are often the face of your business, even when working virtually. The stronger your team, the more effective, productive, and fun your company will be.
Here are a few things to consider for this assignment:
• Have a plan to keep your virtual employees engaged and collaborative. For many, the isolation is mentally hard. It’s important to create opportunities for both interactivity and fun.
• Have a process to continually develop your people. The best employees are those that covet learning and growing. Everyone is better when you have a more skilled team.
• Thank them more often. Your best employees should get a ton of praise. This past year has been hard on everyone, so show those that kept your business going how much you appreciate them.
Being one-dimensional is a bad strategy in football, and an even poorer one in business. By being a well-balanced “team,” you’re in a position to assure and grow cash flow and revenue, ferociously protect your property and profits, and develop your people to enhance their lives and your company.
And that means a lot of winning championships in your future!