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In beginning this January blog, we were hoping to throw light on the phrase about teaching Grandma how to suck eggs, but other than discovering that the origin is probably Spanish from the 17th century we can’t, which is a shame as it would have been a great introduction as, in this piece we risk doing precisely that. What we thought we would do is share some reflections as we get into this new year…

So here we go. Reflection Number One is that 2022 is not going to be a repeat of the last, or indeed the last two. There’s a sense that this pandemic is interminable, but it really isn’t and we have to be ready for whatever twist or turn comes to meet us. This is true for our lives generally, but especially true for those of us managing to hold a business together through these uncharted waters. Whatever happens, there are a few fundamentals that will remain, no matter what, which is where the egg sucking comes in, because you may be on top of these already, in which case, forgive us.

The first is to know your company. Sounds odd, but it’s a question too often ignored. Allow us to go a little deeper. When did you last spend any time reflecting on what it is exactly that you offer your customers or clients? Has your offer changed or expanded over the last few years? Are you doing more than you used to? Has your customer base changed as a result? Has the way you articulate your offer, in the way you talk and advertise, kept up with these changes? Do you need a refresh? Do your employees talk about what your company does in the same terms that you do? When did you last hold a vision and purpose day with them all?

It's a lot of questions, but it’s extraordinary how many companies morph over the years, especially if there are management changes, and yet they never stop long enough to reassess what they look like, what they do and what their message is.

And then, of course, there are your customers. We alluded to them above, but when did you last do any sort of customer survey? What do your 30 most regular customers think you do? What is the essence of your offer, as they see it? Why do they keep coming back? How would they describe you? Does your marketing speak their language? Would they recommend you to others, what for? Why?

Actually, talking of employees and as a further reflection on the year ahead, here’s another question: how’s your employee retention? We ask because Work From Home is changing the way employees think about the company’s they work for, the loyalty and friendships formed between colleagues, the drinks after work that made the daily demands more bearable no longer being there. Now retention is much more about interpersonal management skills and the wage package. Management now has to work harder to keep its workforce, not the workforce to keep its job.

All of which presents an opportunity. If ‘love’, ‘love yourself’, ‘you matter’, ‘you’re worth it’, ‘you choose’ has been a marketing mantra over the last few years, then ‘care’ will be the focus going forward. ‘Care’ for yourself, ‘Care’ for others, ‘understanding’, even ‘compassion’ whatever is being said about compassion fatigue, the way that ‘care’ is expressed by companies to their customers will in 2022, and beyond, be a defining feature of that most important relationship, between a buyer and a seller, a need and its meeter.

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