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    « September 2008 | Main | November 2008 »

    October 30, 2008

    Strategies in a Downturn

    It is hard not to be bombarded by sensational news about the economy.  It is everywhere.  Most of it portrays fear, uncertainty and doubt.  It just so happens that during difficult times the most innovation occurs.  It is when old out dated ways of doing business finally die and new more efficient means emerge to become the standard.  This is good if you have been investing in moving in the right direction, bad if you are clinging to the old way of doing things.  I came accross an article which I thought gave some really pithy advice to anyone wrestling with what to do in these uncertain times

    1. Get off the couch - Many will spend their time worrying and talking to others who are worrying.  Spend your productive hours figuring out how to compete.

    2. Add a new flavor  - In tough times your customers change the way they buy and make decisions to buy.  This may exclude you.  Change your offering to fit the way they are making decisions.

    3. Shift your thinking  - Tough times causes changes in markets to accelerate.  If your business was heavily dependent on the old business model (Repro 1.0), now is the time to update it (Repro 2.0).  Quickly!

    4. Swim clear of the sharks  - In a downturn competitors often resort to a cost-cutting race to the bottom.  Now is a good time to become creative at how you make money and the value you provide.  I think this is a great example.

    5. Invest in your base  - Attracting new customers always more difficult that maintaining existing customers.  Are there ways to be creative to add more value to your existing customers.  They trust you and are also looking for ways to innovate and make changes.

    6. Innovate  - Now is the time to think outside the box.  How can you "break the rules" internally and externally.  Now is the time to challenge the status quo.  "Because we've always done it that way" should be a career limiting statement in your company.

    7. Resist conventional thinking - It is easy to cut costs and "hunker down".  It is okay to cut the fat you should have cut before, but if you are considering cutting into the bone think twice.  Can valuable resorces be allocated differently?  When most people are risk adverse, a calculated risk could make a big difference.