How to Adapt your Business in Times of Political Uncertainty

How to Adapt your Business in Times of Political Uncertainty

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Social-political situations are challenging when it seeps into the work environment. Whether they are government shutdowns, protests, civil wars, or movements, companies have to face the impacts with these events.

The Impact

The social-political uncertainty has a major effect on the cost of work, cost of resources, and customer behaviour. It threatens business routines and activities and the business may even have to stop their operations due to new foreign importing and exporting laws.

Detailed Analysis of different outcomes is a MUST

To control the scope of uncertainty, it is imperative to evaluate the issues in order to adjust corporate tactics. You have to consider whether there is a big price jump due to the social-political situation, if it jeopardizes the business continuity, or what position it currently is in the market. These analysis can depend on what type of business it is. When it comes to declining markets, entrepreneurs have to be careful with moving the business to a new location since it can be expensive. On the flip side, moving the business might be a good option since it protects the key activities during the crisis. However, if the market is growing then the business has opportunities and resources to be more prepared and ready for uncertainty.

Strategies to deploy in a declining market

There are two strategies that can be used for steady or declining markets. The first strategy is the ‘Hedging Strategy’ in which the activities are reorganized towards the people that can get past the political issues. This is used when firms are faced with uncertainty with economic conditions, such as human resources or internal control. What firms can do is lower the function prices and have a drop in sales. For instance, due to the Brexit, Sony decided to keep all its stores in the UK but moved their EU headquarters to the Netherlands in order to keep their key activities in a safer place.

When there is a high uncertainty due to a decline in the market, the risks and threats to business continuity can be jeopardized if the businesses do not have reserves of cash and a presence in the economy. The strategy in this case should be to salvage as much as possible with saving what you can and lessening the negative effects. To recompense for the drop in profit, you will have to use the reserves of cash and try to dodge selling previous assets that could become handy if the economy rises.

Strategies to deploy in an uncertain market

The first strategy is to rebalance, meaning to relocate strategic and leadership assets to an alternative location that is nearby well-known growth engines. This can be very costly, but it is a practical method that focuses on the resources of the firm to be able to escape the consequences of uncertainty. The other strategy is to shift, which means relocating important parts of activities to another region starting with the functions that can easily be shifted with low costs. This is a thorough method since it is more organized, fast-paced, and its goal is to get rid of the uncertainty in the market.

Taking your business forward

Taking your business forward

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The way forward for your business to reach excellence would be definitely to employ a well-planned strategic management process. To begin with, evaluate your company’s vision and long-term goals. Assess the company’s strengths and weaknesses & conduct a detailed market study and competitor analysis. With these inputs, draft a clear-cut strategy that will pave a well-defined path to steer your company growth towards excellence.

Implementing this plan in real-time could be quite a challenge. Whether you are in the managerial board, starting off as an entrepreneur or already are a business owner,  these some simple tips will help you take your business to the next level:

Have a clear vision

Your strategic growth plan should include a well thought-out clear vision. It must serve as a compelling catalyst for the team and inspire them to work towards the goal passionately. It must have clear targets to measure progress and a finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal.

Make sure to convey the Big Picture

Make sure everyone is on the same page. You will not achieve your goals if your team cannot picture where they are going. Make sure that the company and it’s stakeholders get the big picture. This ensures progressive growth in the set direction.

Build the right team

Invest time in the hiring process to select the right candidate. But never hesitate to fire the wrong candidate. One wrong team member wastes the entire team’s time and effort spent on training the candidate and fixing their mess. So never be in a rush to fill a vacant spot.

Keep the team motivated

Any team will be motivated to work if they face interesting challenges along the way. Keep the journey fun and exciting. Set interim targets, encourage healthy competition and offer perks and monetary benefits to keep the team motivated. Invest in team building.

Never compensate integrity

No matter how many challenges or hurdles you face along the way, never compensate the integrity of your company. Don’t ever let greed get in the way. Once you lose your reputation, you can never earn it back. In the end, nothing is worth it.

Have a unique selling point

Strive to be different from your competitors. Build a unique strategy that will stand out. Maintain a personal relationship with your customers and encourage real feedback.

Lead by example

Employees are what make a firm reputable. Inspire your employees to be the best, motivate them, and help them grow. Make sure to provide continuing education too. It is vital for your team members to strengthen skills and gain industry knowledge. Make sure that they are given the right tools and resources to do their job efficiently.

Capturing the Win

Capturing the Win

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Capture management comprises a thorough understanding of the customer, the problem statement, the solution, the competition, and then using these into making a winning plan.

Information is King

While gathering intelligence about the customer and competition, the importance of being thorough cannot be stressed enough. Pursuing an opportunity mandates collecting as much information accurately. A complacent approach has no place while collecting information for a proposal. However, it is easy to focus on the wrong things. As much as a proposal is not won because of what you know, it can easily be lost because of what you don’t.

Customer Focus

Understanding, analysing and collecting information about the customer is key. You need to understand the customer, their issues and priorities. If your customer knowledge has significant gaps, it will shake the confidence that your customer will have on your solution and service. It will cast a shadow on your abilities, skills and past performance.

Building your Capture Plan

When evaluating your progress towards the completion of a capture plan or a proposal, follow this approach:
  1. Start with what you don’t know. Knowing what you don’t know is the sensible step towards a complete proposal.
  2. Ask yourself questions that seem impossible to find answers to –  Does the customer like the current provider? If they do (or if they don’t), what is the reason? Who are the competitors? What are their strategies and pricing?
  3. Run through your networks, both internal and external and see if you can find answers. You will be surprised how much information is actually publicly and freely available.
  4. Make unanswered questions a priority. Seek those answers. Learn from past proposals. Which unanswered questions costed you the bid? Which answers sealed the deal for you?
  5. Use feedback to ensure effective capture plan processes are in place.
With a zest for continuous improvement, the enigmatic recipe for creating winning proposals will be closer.
Planning for Success

Planning for Success

It is hard to plan for something that you have no idea about. And, that is exactly what the future is, the unknown. Most companies are also unclear about how you can grow your career or what they would even expect of you to advance further. Another additional layer of stress is that at the same time you are also at competition with everyone else in your field who also want the same things as you. So really, you need to know how to develop your skills, but also, how to develop them faster than everyone else.

A viable growth model 

The 70-20-10 model was made to help people grow themselves the fastest. Basically, it breaks down to 70% of your professional growth will come from the direct work experience that you have from jobs that you have done, 20% is from the networking and interactions that you with other people and professionals in your field, and lastly 10% is from the educational training you undertook. Also, take every opportunity and presentation as an avenue for growth. Once you’ve completed the action, ask for feedback, and then perform the next time at an even higher level. Here is a 3 step strategy to plan your success:

1. Build a realistic vision

The first step is to gauge where you are currently and where you would like to be. Once a clear goal has been outlined you know what you are working towards instead of aimlessly striving towards an unclear vision.  When you are doing this the most important factor is to be realistic and honest with ourselves. Although objectivity can be hard, it is essential in mapping out your success. For starters, your ego has to be left behind and asking for input from a respected superior who you know will not sugar-coat the truth is a good place to work from.

2. Learn from experience

Two types of experiences will help you grow. The first type are functional experiences. These are things that help you hone in on a particular skill. The second type are management experiences. Management experiences help you develop skills under pressure and lead a team as well.

3. Seek advice

Another tip is to speak to people who are successful in your field. They can offer insight into what steps they took to reach where you would like to be and guide you in the right direction. Leave your ego behind and ask for input from respected superiors who you know will not sugar-coat the truth and guide you in the right direction. By mapping out your plan, seeking experiences that will help you grow, and speaking to successful professionals in your filed you can easily plan for success.
Ways to Conquer the Changing Sales Environment

Ways to Conquer the Changing Sales Environment

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Adapting to change is necessary for surviving in a business environment. The advent of technology has shifted the very dynamics of a typical sales process. Sales executives are forced to step up their sales strategies due to changing consumer behaviour.  

Here are few methods you can adapt to conquer the current sales environment. 

Right Sales Representative 

Hiring the right sales representative is a game changer. A well informed and able salesperson can dramatically change the buying process. But successful companies hire sales representatives who are not only willing to be process oriented but also open to the notion of continuous improvement. Also make sure that the sales representative acts as a facilitator between the company and the buyers.  

Retaining Employees 

Companies are forming policies that help in retaining the best talent. Retaining the best sales representatives by providing aid for their self-development and growth will benefit the firm in the long run. A survey conducted by Harvard in the year 2006 showed that firms that retained the best sales representatives had greater than average tenure of sales staff, higher percentage of reps meeting the quota, higher average deal size and shorter than average sale cycle.  

Following Sales process 

Every company has a standardized and defined sales procedure. But very few sales executive follow the prescribed procedure. Successful firms monitor and provide feedback on salesperson’s use of the standard process. These organizations amend the process when they identify even minor changes in market conditions. These companies also have higher performance rating and are a formidable competition.   

Understanding Buyers 

Though some companies formalize the selling process, very few try to understand the buying process. Keep a track on buyer’s process by understanding the opportunity, the budget allocation and by identifying key buying influences. A proper sales representative should be able to forecast the buyer’s actions and adapt this strategy accordingly.  

Marketing 

Nowadays consumers are well informed about the product even before the meeting with the salesperson. A customer’s first impression of the product is gathered from the internet and other online reviews.  Hence, a firm should focus on the marketing aspect of the product. Sales department needs to focus more on how the product reaches the consumer to increase the possibility of a sale.  

Technology 

The gadgets and gizmos available today are focused on making sales transaction both efficient and effective. Firms use data analysis to monitor the sales process and collect data which benefit in understanding the market change. Having data-mining tools built into the CRM application and categorizing and storing the collected data in an accessible manner will benefit all businesses.  

Transparency 

Salesmen who are transparent to the buyers from the beginning are often more successful at closing a deal. Such representatives have constantly explained what they wanted and tried to reach the top decision maker. These clear and on-going efforts to get to the decision maker can produce a positive pressure on the outcome of the deals. Being open to the buyers and explaining your reasons to them can have a progressive effect on the sales process. 

It’s important to remember that the process of selling is both an art and science. It can be highly automated and process oriented but has scope for improvement and development.



Customer service, ideal response times

Customer service, ideal response times

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The average company responds to an email in about 12 hours and 10 minutes according to a study conducted. But is this quick enough is the question! 

Research Findings 

With numerous avenues to contact a company including Twitter, email, and Facebook how fast does the average customer expect a response and does their age affect their expectations? A study conducted in 2017 showed that under 45% of customers were very satisfied with their email correspondence. Customers that were satisfied noted down speed being the top factor affecting their interaction. A typical business takes about 12 hours to respond to an email. This is definitely an upgrade from the previous one-business-day standard response time but it may still not be up to par. A previous study done showed that the ideal response time expected even then was just one hour. A follow-up study was done in 2018 to see if this expectation has changed. According to the results the ideal standard for response times through email was still one hour with a response within fifteen minutes remarkable service. This was based on what would satisfy at least 80% of the individuals surveyed.  

Email Response Time Expectations 

If an email was responded to within a couple of hours a company could capitalize on 70% of customers. A one hour response time is the expectation that would satisfy 89% of customers. When categorized by age the findings showed that Baby Boomers within the ages of 55-73 actually expected the fastest response. Expectations were similar among coworkers expecting responses within the hour. At work, this may be very hard to fulfill and may lead to emails being glanced over quickly and not getting detailed responses back. The average email thread amongst coworkers was reported to be 4.5 emails. The age group that expected the fastest response was GenX, who are 39-54 years old.  

Managing Twitter & Facebook Response Times 

On Twitter the stakes are even higher with the standard expectation being just fifteen minutes. This can be especially challenging to fulfill as Twitter is decreasing in popularity and is usually not the preferred method of contact. Phone calls, and email are still used more, thus allotting staff members to focus on Twitter may not be the best allocation of company staff. Again, Baby Boomers expected the fastest response.  Expectations on Facebook were similar to email with one hour being ideal and fifteen minutes being remarkable. Millennials, ages 23-38 expected the fastest responses on Facebook. Although more people use Facebook to contact companies than Twitter, a rise from 40% to 50%, only 55% of Millennials reported using Facebook to contact a company.  

In conclusion, the ideal response time for a company to  reach a majority of their customers would be to respond within the hour.