As you start to plan to reopen after the pandemic, you may be faced with a dilemma. The pandemic has exhausted most businesses reserves, and now you have to get stock in, get people back into the workplace, tell your customers you are open, try and attract new customers, and all of this takes money. The government has tried to help with loans, but the banks are using normal banking criteria and will be fairly cautious as they know that a lot of businesses will overextend themselves and fail. It’s called over trading. Also resist the temptation to chase sales by dropping prices. This can be useful but can go very wrong. You need to Price for Profit.

Yet you have to do something and traditionally, that means taking baby steps out of the problem. This means you avoid overtrading by making small adjustments to manage your working capital, but it limits the fast growth you need to get back to 2019 levels, and implies opportunities are going to pass you by. You need to get a lot more creative.

Getting creative doesn’t mean throwing the baby out with the bath water

Limitations and constraints in how your business systems work are there for a reason.  Is the reason still valid? You need to step outside the system, and see which limitations really need to be there. It’s one part of Jootsing.

Jootsing (Jumping out of the system)

There are three elements to this.

Having a deep understanding of the system and its rules

Stepping outside the system

Using what you find as a basis for making something new and creative.

It is described in Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel Dennett. It’s a creativity technique that allows you to understand the system and in so doing be able to subvert it better. Dennett summarizes: “It helps to know the tradition if you want to subvert it. That’s why so few dabblers or novices succeed in coming up with anything truly creative.”

Creativity in the pandemic

There have been a lot of examples of creativity over the last year. Distilleries like Conker Spirit started producing hand sanitiser, concerts became virtual, Go Outdoors became Go Indoors, the Piccadilly Ballroom started on-line dance and exercise classes bringing in guest professionals from Strictly Come Dancing, as just a  few examples.

Here’s a fairly common one, and the step change that can come from it. Most restaurants now offer a takeaway service. Local restaurants Roots and The Larderhouse and others have done this, but it involves collection from the restaurant. That’s fine for local deliveries. And it’s helped them get by. They’ve been creative – The Larderhouse has turned its restaurant into a farmers market as well, but if you want a wider reach this model has a limitation – local collection. Roast Kings, for example, deliver nationally. A roast dinner, pub style from a pub in Frome, reimagined.

You can argue that RoastKings operate in different markets from Roots and The Larderhouse. That’s true, but it doesn’t deny the fact that one has managed to successfully deliver fresh cooked food nationally. Would the others have done so if they had managed to work out how? Or are they content, for other reasons, to only operate locally? The point is, which limitations are you willing to keep and which to change?

Who are you trying to please?

Remember that you shouldn’t benchmark your business against your competitors. They do not have your best interests at heart, and any improvements you make are likely to be small and fleeting until they catch up. Remember, most restaurants now offer a take-away service. So instead of copying competitors you need to benchmark against what your customers want. Don’t get sucked back into a trading environment if you can possibly escape it. The main differentiator in a trading scenario is price. That’s the route to failure. We described this in Owner Managed Business Part 3 Growing with little time and money. You need to find points of difference that you can maintain over a long period.

What customers want has moved past a great customer experience. Now they want good outcomes.

An outcome is a tangible benefit; a good experience isn’t enough.

The business that can engineer early outcomes for the customer wins and keeps more customers. Here’s a restaurant example. People don’t like to wait, so you need to get a drink on the table quickly, take the order promptly and if there is a delay, bring some nibbles. People are there to eat, not sit. Make customers feel they made the right decision coming to you. In the same vein, as a practice, we work fast for a new client to find a tax or time saving early on, so our new client recognises that they have made the right decision. We feel good too, as we’ve helped our client.

Jootsing helps business owners look past what they do to satisfy their own needs to what they can do to satisfy customer outcomes.

Often that means stripping back limitations that exist because “we’ve always done it that way” and “no one has complained” and reengineering what a viable business looks like. That usually means lower costs and faster. It may not mean cheaper to the customer. Their values may have changed and they may appreciate quality and service more.

How to Joots (Is that a word?)

Work out your workflows (they are part of the 5 steps to scaling your business)

Which ones are internal and do not impact customers or suppliers etc?

Can they be dropped, amended or incorporated into others? What information is essential and what is desirable?

What do customers care about? What would you care about if you were a customer? Remember that you are a customer, use your own experiences. What is their Job To Be Done?

Which activities can be done differently? What do other organisations in different industries do to solve similar problems?

Creativity can be hard – don’t get stuck

It’s difficult to break free of constraints that have become second nature. That’s where we can help. A wide knowledge of many businesses brings different ways of solving similar issues. We put in a system for selling fish based on the flows at a petrol station once. It discovered a fraud as well as streamlining their processes. If you are stuck, give us a call. Our Business Energizer sessions only take about 90 minutes. We will look at:

What will make your business more successful

Developing financial freedom

Creating a rolling plan for a resilient future

Valuing yourself and what is important to you

Managing and mitigating risk

Building sustainable business structures

Less than half price at £150 until the end of May

Call 01202 520010 or email