Never waste a good crisis!
[A quote attributed to Winston Churchill around the time of the Yalta conference following the second world war]
An extract from an excellent article by SoPro following an interview with Managing Director, Bob Bradley.
Pandemic and peer-to-peer
Here’s a great example of a business using prospecting to make the most out of a good crisis.
In March 2020, Bob Bradley reacted to the news of a COVID-19 lockdown with a sense of doom-laden dismay and rising panic.
His business, MD2MD, relied on the power of face-to-face meetings to create connections and engagement among its community of business leaders.
It ensured that it was never lonely at the top through regular meetings and speaker events.
Lockdown effectively pulled the rug from under its well-established feet.
Once the initial shock subsided, Bob decided to do what he always does. He made sure he understood exactly what the new situation needed.
Placing prospecting and any other form of marketing on hold, he devoted his time to reaching out to his existing audience to understand what they needed now the ground had shifted so violently.
What Bob discovered was that the need for a peer-to-peer group was stronger than ever. It was just his ability to deliver it that had been knocked for six.
His members, again and again, told him that:
‘We are in uncharted territory.
No MBA, no management training and no amount of leadership experience has prepared us for what we are facing now. And there are no formulaic, black and white answers.
As business leaders we urgently need to compare notes to understand what’s happening and to share ideas on how we can deal with it.
If we can learn from each other we can save time and save our businesses.’
This was a crisis we all could learn from.
Bob moved his operations online and, having made the switch by April, his members were asking for more regular meetings because the situation around them was changing so fast.
He discovered that online meetings may lack the strong sense of connection that face to face has but they did confer several other benefits.
- The pool of speakers available to Bob went global.
- The scheduling of meetings was simplified.
- New members could be introduced and onboarded with greater ease.
Commenting on the effects of COVID-19 on his business, Bob observed:
‘This was a crisis I could not waste. I’d been telling myself for 10 years that I should be doing something online – but I never got around to it. COVID forced my hand – and it’s really exciting what happened when I turned a crisis into an opportunity.
Having established that what we had was even more attractive to business leaders, we tripled our spend on prospecting. A year on we have tripled our membership. We’ve recruited twice as many members in the last nine months as we did in the previous 15 years!
We spotted the moment and timing in business is critical. As they say, the only sustainable competitive advantage is your agility, your ability to respond effectively to opportunities.
This year we look forward to folding back in face to face into our offering. But it will be alongside – not instead of – online.’
Managing Director - Bob Bradley
Bob is a specialist in running high value added service businesses, having run five such businesses as General Manager, Managing Director or Chief Executive. His last employed role was as Chief Executive of a £16M, 200 person family owned business having previously been Chief Executive of an AIM listed company for which he raised £5M funding and which he grew from £4M to £12M in three years through two acquisitions and organic growth, and a corporate PLC subsidiary where he was Managing Director responsible for delivering £10M profit on £45M turnover through 450 staff.
Bob is now following a portfolio career providing entrepreneurial business leaders with mentoring and coaching around business leadership, business growth, merger integration and exit planning.
Core to his portfolio is MD2MD. Having experienced for himself the value of having a strong sounding board of fellow Managing Directors he founded MD2MD in 2004 to provide groups of business leaders with a confidential environment within which they can support and challenge each other to raise their game as leaders and by doing so improve the success of their organisation.