So your company has survived the economic downturn… so far. Chances are you’ve accomplished that through various coping mechanisms, cut-backs and resource reallocations. Congratulations!
If the economy is indeed showing signs of looking up, what do you need to do in order to get ready for the exciting growth stages? Many companies have made extreme (even drastic) cuts in resources that while they made survival possible, they may also choke off growth before it has a chance to begin. Ask yourself; if business started picking up tomorrow, would you have what you need to meet demand, or have you cut back to the point of instability? Are my employees accountable (to themselves and the organization), and are our managers communicating to manage performance?
The New Normal
As the recession continues on, the way we do business and what we all assume is “normal” may continue to be in flux. Beware, possible rough waters ahead. Habits may have changed permanently. Business models may not return to what they were before, regardless of the rate or speed of the recovery. Coping through the current economic climate has certainly changed all of us, but in what ways and by how much is the 64 million dollar question.
What you can do now is prepare your employees with the tools they need for coping with whatever is coming up next. Now is the time to communicate effectively and consistently with all employees, give communication skills training, and ensure that generational or cultural issues are not decreasing productivity. Find more resources here.
It is critical to maintain focus. Certainly, you have been a “good soldier” through this recessionary period. You still have a job, and your company is still in business, right? Well, as things begin to look up, you will find that it is equally important to maintain your vigil, but simply change its focus.
What are the specific indicators that predict your market area? Have they changed? How can you be sure that you are keeping a pulse on those changes, as this economy moves forward?
Customers & Clients
You may have seen some of your partners or clients walk away from your relationships, and you have likely spent time and energy maintaining others. Right now, your push should be to continue casting the net to create community around your product and services, whether it is through social networks, email campaigns or direct calls.That being said, you will also need to go back and take a hard look at the potential of the members that your net has caught.
As the economy picks up, you likely will need to capture some high potential clients, if you haven’t already. Of course, you want to service all of your clients, but success with high potential clients will help you continue to offer great products and services to the smaller-yield clients, too. In short, are you ready for pent-up demand to be unleashed?
The organizations that have prepared will make the “big catch” in the next few years.
Regardless of an increase in demand, many industries will experience pressure on downward pricing. This applies across industries, whether you are selling a product, service or are simply doing business with other organizations. Here’s the thing: you should expect considerable recalibration.
Many companies, indeed, many industries, have lost the trust of the consumer. Even though your company has likely continued to offer the same goods and services it always has, consumers are more skeptical than ever. Is there anything you can do to highlight mutual trust that you share with them?
Develop your back-up plan. How long will the current recession last? Will the recovery be gradual or dramatic? We can hardly speculate. Either way, do you have a back-up plan? Now is the time to run various scenarios. By putting all of these recommendations into practice, you and your organization will be much more skilled at adjusting to the new economic climate, as it unfolds before us all.