Many businesses are unlikely to have experienced a downturn like what we can expect to deal with this year. I have come across the following article “How to manage your business in a recession” by Fortune Magazine. There are 10 worthwhile suggestions about how you can go about managing in tough times, however I think the one that struck me as having the most relevance was “Communicate like crazy, balancing realism and optimism”.
It seems to me that during ‘challenging times’ most businesses tend to batten down the hatches and hope for the best. They tend to make responses which isolate themselves from the business community that helped them succeed during good times. During ‘tough times’ employees, customers and so on also share similar fears. Failing to provide information about your situation and direction only heightens those fears. Alternatively, providing unrealistic information can be just as bad because it is clear that every business is going to be affected by the poor economic conditions, so trying to tell people otherwise is just plain stupid.
There is nothing worse than not knowing, because most people only assume the worst. It is therefore important that part of any business strategy going forward is to ensure the lines of regular communication stay open. Whether that be printed newsletters, email marketing, town meetings, on site customer meetings, support groups, whatever, now is the time to ensure that you actually do more! Now is the perfect time, for example, to form greater alliances with your business peers to find out what they are doing to cope. If you stick your head in the sand you are pretty much guaranteeing that you are going to have little or no support when you need it.
I also like this from the final part of the article, “[m]arathoners and Tour de France racers will tell you that a race’s hardest parts, the uphill stages, are where the lead changes hands. That’s where we are now. When the recession ends, when the road levels off and world seems full of promise once more, you position in the competitive pack will depend on how skilfully you manage right now”. Your skill is a direct measure of ability to learn. So seek out those who have the skills you desire and learn, baby learn.