By Paul Yung
In a time when the Covid-19 numbers are soaring and variants spreading within our community.
In a time when the economy is like a roller coaster that is terrible for your psyche and blood pressure. We’re facing a total lockdown for half of June and who knows how much longer!
What can we do to turn this once in a lifetime crisis, into a once in a lifetime opportunity?
The trick use is to play both offense and defense.
PM International grew globally by 50% last year to become the 10th largest direct sales company in the world and continues to break records this year.
As of this writing, our company in Malaysia is at an all-time high monthly sales following our most successful year ever in 2020. Of course, there were many strategies that brought us here, something that I use is a concept called exploit and explore.
The idea is simple, reflect on what is working today (exploit) and on what’s going to work in future (explore). Then do more of what’s working today, double down on your efforts, in other words, play offense! At PM International, we haven’t been able to do any live events for more than a year, and frankly, I wouldn’t risk it.
Instead, to show appreciation and build loyalty and rapport with our customers and business builders, we send out personal thank you cards with every shipment. We have more consistent online meetings and trainings to empower our distributors with little or no experience. We even have bi-yearly virtual recognition nights where we celebrate the growth and success of our distributors. All these efforts would have been irrelevant before the pandemic, however, these efforts keep our customers and distributors informed and empowered and the results show.
The second part is to explore or play defense. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from this pandemic, is that we need to adapt to survive and explore to thrive.
What would you like your future to look like?
What’s missing from today and what must you do to thrive tomorrow?
What markets and industries do you have to explore?
What changes must you make?
Change and exploration mean breaking out of your comfort zone, which by definition is, uncomfortable.
When I took over the company from my father 4 years ago, most of our distributors were from the Chinese and English-speaking market. I told my team, let’s explore the Malay-speaking market. How can we cater to Malay speaking customers? What must we learn to thrive? I hired the best talent I could find, spoke to executives and leaders who were successful in the Malay speaking market already and came up with whole stacks of meetings, marketing and training material tailor made to this market. Frankly, the process was different, challenging, uncomfortable. Focus and consistent effort first came to fruition among others, when we were awarded the Best Halal Health Supplement award at the Asia Halal Brand Awards which partners with JAKIM. The real reward came three years later. Today we serve hundreds of satisfied Malay-speaking customers and we have started empowering the first, pioneer Malay business builders. How exciting! After 18 years in business, we continue to learn and explore to ensure our business builds a “defense” mechanism for the future, come what may.
Reflect on how you can exploit and explore, this is a simultaneous process, one to be done hand in hand that caters to your existing needs and builds a future worth exploring.
Lastly, as Covid hits closer to home, let’s do our part to break the chain.
Stay at home, Get vaccinated and respect SOP’s #KitaMestiMenang!