April 13th, 2023
Control What You Can Control
Over the last few years, the pandemic has given our industry unprecedented growth. It also has led to many great opportunities for all of us. When business was growing at historic rates, experimentation with lead generation was plentiful and we were all still finding ways to get new customers. Whether on the retail side or manufacturing side, we were all still after new business. All those things made our industry so exciting, and we were really one of the biggest engines helping to grow the economy. On the not so fun side of things, however, lead times and supply chain struggles kept us all up at night. Even though sales were at record highs, internally, we still had hurdles to constantly overcome and manage.
We have now ventured into post pandemic territory, and some would say we are finally getting back to normal. I have talked with many sales leaders around the country and they all ask, “How is business?” Many say, “We are flat or down a bit compared to last year.” After a few years of historic growth, I say that’s pretty good news.
Do not get me wrong—we still have lots of growth potential and opportunities in front of us. It’s just a matter of how we want to frame those opportunities in our minds. Although the first quarter seems to have been solid for many of us, it does seem like we are settling into some normal seasonality. This should be viewed as good news, as it will allow for better business planning, whether we’re in manufacturing or retail.
Over the past few years, sales led the way for profitability. Sales teams were viewed as awesome and couldn’t miss. I have always been a believer that sales teams are never as good as we think when times are great and, conversely, we are not as bad when things go sideways. It is important to maintain balance and perspective in our sales environments. Controlling what we can control is a good philosophy to maintain.
As we get back to normal (whatever that is), better planning will lead the way to increased revenue and profitability. But just because we are getting back to normal does not mean we shouldn’t focus on sales growth. Many people I have talked to have said they pulled business forward. And we may have but there is lots of business out there, so it’s important to focus on the opportunities.
We know things will not be the same as the past few years. Obviously, every business and person is different in how we each set expectations for the year. But I would suggest that it’s important to get back to mini goal setting. And just because demand may not be at historic levels doesn’t mean you should change your style. Keep doing what has made you successful but also concentrate on your fundaments, networking and self-generating opportunities.
This year is going to be full of ups and downs like any other. We all know bad news sells better than good news, so ignore this. There is no need to press and no need to get desperate. Maintain your poise, maintain your upbeat attitude and successful business philosophies.
Control what you can control. There are too many good things happening for this not to be another record-breaking year!