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Prepare to Rebuild

Posted 28th January 2021
By Vida Barr-Jones

How positive are you feeling?

Are you really fired up?
Are you ready to propel your business into a decade of unprecedented growth? 

Do you feel you are on the brink of the 4th industrial revolution with all the advances that will bring? 

NO? WELL, HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU!

As we find ourselves in a third lockdown, it would be easy to start wondering if there is any end in sight to the current hardship, but if you recall last week, I wrote about reflection and the need to look back in anticipation of moving forward.

Here is a little reflection on the present situation.

There are two sides to what has happened to in the past year. There is the human tragedy as a result of the pandemic with which we are all familiar, but also the effect on the economy which many do not understand so well. 

Uncertainty causes panic, fear, loss of confidence and can inhibit our decision-making processes. So, let me provide some clarity.

Through our partnership with BoB Earth, we are very fortunate to work with Darren Shirlaw, who is a very highly regarded economic analyst and commentator. Darren is a great advocate that if you know what is happening and what is likely to happen, you can take the appropriate action at the right time.

Darren provided us with the following analysis in March of 2020 when the pandemic hit.


When you look at the economy from a trend perspective, you will see that it operates on the basis of 18 years of growth followed by 14 years of flat performance.

This has been the case for centuries, and the last cycle was growth from 1981 to 1999 and you will recall an L-Shaped recession in 1987-88 occurred 7 years into that. The economy was then flat from 1999-2013.

2013-2031 is the next growth cycle, and sure enough, 7 years in we have hit another L-shaped recession in 2020, one that we know from history will last 18 months. 

The first 3 months are a shock phase during which we don’t know what is happening, what the impact will be, how bad it will get and so on. Then things start to settle down and we spend the next 6 months recovering from the shock, clearing the wreckage, understanding where we are and what we have.

We adapt our working processes, modify our pricing models, adjust our product and service portfolios or completely pivot our businesses in order to minimise the damage and to ensure our survival. That takes us up to now – but what happens next? 

The bad news (there is good news coming) is that we still have 9 months of recession to go and we move into the third and final stage. For the next 9 months, through to September 2021 we will be in a rebuild phase. We reflect, we consider our options and we rebuild our businesses, not as they were, but as they will need to be given all of the changes in the market, in consumer behaviour and in the societal and business trends that we can identify. 

In this reflection period, look at your business sector. Ask yourself what has changed and consider whether that change will be long term or simply as a tactical response to our current situation. What were the needs of your market coming into the recession, what are they now and what are they likely to be by September? 

Are you addressing them? Are you communicating them? If not, you have until September to get in shape, because here’s the good news I promised! Whilst we are in a recession, we are still in that 18-year growth cycle, and in 9 months we will move into 10 years of growth. The opportunities for those prepared will be immense, so make sure you are amongst them.


Here are two things that we recommend you focus upon

Firstly, is your business brand-led or is it sales-led? 

If you are sales-led, you will be spending lots of money on advertising and salespeople, who are pushing out to the market about your products and services, probably heavily discounted and with limited and diminishing return. Meanwhile, brand-led business will be leading with their purpose, values and an empathic response to their customer need and emotional journey. These are the businesses who rather than pushing sales messages are pulling the market to them. They are spending less and delivering more, gaining mind share and market share which they will almost certainly hold on to in the future.

Secondly, is your business purpose-driven?

20th Century business was all about mass production and exploitation of resources irrespective of the societal and environmental cost. 21st Century business is very different. Today’s consumers care about the harm caused by single use plastics, they want clean oceans, to stop the use of child labour, reduce carbon emissions and so on. They want to work with businesses that demonstrate they put purpose before profit (before, not instead of) sharing their values and aspirations. 

If you need any help in reshaping your business or your marketing communications, please do get in touch. We would be delighted to help you.

Please contact Vida Barr-Jones at vida@focus7int.com or David Langdown at david@focus7int.com

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