Take action that creates distinction for your clients
Given the challenges associated with emerging from the recent chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, companies will be scrutinizing with greater regularity their operating expenses and be more discerning about what they decide to fund, versus reduce or eliminate. We need to shift the paradigm from being a necessary business expense to a return on investment.
Consider the roles of value creator and business catalyst. A value creator is focused on seeking out and finding opportunities to impact its client’s business. It is relentless in identifying enterprise needs and possesses the ability to mobilize its extended network to find solutions of relevance. Additionally, value creators possess the acumen to subtly market their contribution in a manner that the client acknowledges as well as appreciates.
A business catalyst is determined to accelerate movement and create future possibilities. It is viewed by clientele as a forward-thinking professional that unleashes potential opportunities.
There are six levers of value creation, areas of impact that can change the conversation and force a discipline of viewing things through a different perspective. These levers are revenue enhancement, cost optimization, risk avoidance, ease of doing business, profitability expansion and business process improvement.
To better understand how these can be put to use, refer to the following examples, understanding that some of these recommendations are outside the traditional scope of what your firm provides. Do not limit your thinking, as it takes leveraging an entire ecosystem to truly make a difference.
- Revenue enhancement. Consider referring a future client, channel partner, subject matter expert or employee, or explore creating an advisory board to create greater velocity in the business.
- Cost optimization. Provide industry comparisons, introduce suppliers who can lower the client’s cost of doing business and review how the cost of goods is calculated, as often SKUs are either over- or under-burdened relative to true unit cost.
- Risk avoidance. It’s essential to conduct a complete risk assessment of the business that spans human capital, supply chain, proper insurance coverages, cybersecurity and client risks associated with financial health.
- Ease of doing business. Streamline workflows, leverage automation and make recommendations on how the client can enhance its client service by adopting best practices from other customers you serve.
- Profitability enhancement. Explore ways to establish a dashboard of distinction to drive outcomes and perform a client/segment profitability assessment. Suggest introducing leadership to industry or owner groups like Vistage, EO or your own roundtable.
- Business process improvement. Evaluate outsourcing and review critical workflows to determine areas for optimization, especially with a remote workforce. Conduct Lean or Six Sigma events.
The key is demonstrating a willingness to take action in a mindful manner that creates distinction. Do not wait until the client grants you permission. Go on the offense by being curious, demonstrating empathy and showing you care. You will be rewarded by being recognized as more than a reliable vendor and will elevate your status to being a true value creator.
Marc Rosen, co-founder, The Client Experience Institute™; president, The Vector Group LLC.