This has been a crazy pandemic year and more than a few of the folks in my circle have been feeling a bit stuck about what to do next.
Clients have been slow to pull the trigger on big decisions and that can create anxiety, even in consultants who know they can afford to wait until times change.
So they start thinking: should they stick with what worked before, experiment with something new or do a complete pivot?
The problem is that when we’re not sure what is the right next move, we tend to do nothing.
Which is fine if you’re on the right path, but deadly if you’re not.
Instead, why not move toward your destination one best guess at a time?
Sidebar: if you’re stuck on your destination, an easy goal is your version of this: I want to work with clients I like, solving problems that matter, while being very well paid to do it.
Let’s say you design pay plans for big box retailers—your clients are companies on the front lines of the pandemic, struggling to keep their employees and customers safe while wrangling a challenging bottom line.
Maybe you were busy in the early days of COVID designing special incentives to keep front-line workers on the job, but then things got tumbleweed quiet.
Because your clients aren’t so interested in looking at their pay plans right now—they’re more worried about how they’re going to stay alive to keep competing. And so, your business stagnates.
Depending on your skill sets and preferences, here are a few possible next best guesses to choose from:
You love what you do and the clients you serve, so you decide to start a new content stream on the challenges of the industry right now (articles, a column in an industry publication, a podcast). While it may not bring you direct revenue, it will provide a clear benefit to your target audience and build your authority.
After deep conversations with your best clients, it’s clear that they value knowing what the others in their space are doing now and planning for 2021. You propose a custom (paid) survey to give them insights into new behaviors and practices sparked by the pandemic.
You’ve always had a keen interest in the productivity of employees in big box retailers and so you use this time to solidify your belief system and create an additional set of products and/or services to pitch to your existing clients.
You study adjacent spaces with similar workforces and pay issues and decide to reach out to warehouses, large construction contractors and logistics management companies. You listen closely to their needs and challenges and focus on the overlap with your expertise.
Once you’ve made THAT next guess, your next best guess might be leveraging social or digital media to reach more of your target audience.
Each best guess shows you the next step (I can’t get that Indiana Jones leap of faith scene out of my head).
Sure, it’s ideal to have a clear action plan to guide your next moves.
But when times are murky, sometimes the right investment is moving toward your destination one best guess at time.
Related: There Can Be Magic In Consistency