IN THE aftermath of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis and with oil and commodity prices escalating, the global economy is getting gloomier.
As part of the global business community, your organisation has already or will most likely be impacted. How can you ensure that your organisation makes the best of the change in the economic climate?
Here is a list of steps you might want to follow to prepare your organisation for a rebound:
1. Focus on improvement
Take advantage of the slowdown to improve your products, services and processes. Invest in training your staff so your skills will be even stronger when the economy improves and your business gets better.
2. Add value
When it comes to business, do not confuse creativity with invention and innovation. Creativity is related to people's mindsets and about making new connections. Invention is related to skill sets and about creating new things in a physical reality.
Innovation is about thinking up new ways to add value to other people's lives. Innovate with a clear focus on increasing your top line, bottom line and customer engagement or you end up wasting time and money.
3. Make informed changes
Seize the opportunity to get customer feedback. Do not ask your customers directly what they want through surveys as they do not understand your business as well as you do and cannot see it from your perspective.
Get your employees to ask your customers what they want. Then get your employees to improve on their demands.
4. Embrace the age of disruption
This is an age of disruption, short attention spans and faster half-lives. Pay closer attention to value propositions and core values. Learn to build greater value propositions and observe how people are actually buying to coincide with their core values. This will give your subsequent marketing a new competitive edge once the economy picks up.
5. Make a commitment to excellence
Discover what the greatest leap forward is and strive to excel at it. Collaborate with willing parties, bring together value propositions, clarify individual and collective gains and you will magnify your chance of success.
People are far more willing to collaborate in bad times, when a new angle is needed, than boom times when everyone is too caught up with doing business.
6. Do what's necessary first
In sporting jargon, "downtime" is called post-season and a time for athletes to recuperate followed by a pre-season, a time for them to train and shape up. In business jargon, "downtime" refers to a downturn and "pre-season" a trough.
Focus on your core business. Identify the few things you need to do well right now and get it done. Do not try to do everything. Concentrate on the vital aspects first.
7. Stop selling
To benefit from a lasting value proposition, you need to stop selling and focus on having people fall in love with you, your ideas, products, services and experiences instead.
This is the time to ignore fads and look for the established principles that has given rise to them. Stop attempting to get people to buy what they do not want and figure out what they need, want and desire instead.
8. "Wouldn't it be great if..."
Work with your team and identify 10 propositions that would be great for both your customer and the company. Then look for ways to implement them.
Conduct a 100 New Ideas and Ideals Workshop and focus on the few that you and your staff think is best to work on.
9. Evaluate your people
Do a quick evaluation of all your people. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What personality traits do you think would make your business grow and what personality traits can you do without? Who is living up to their potential and who is not?
All these are important questions as your people are either your competitive assets or liabilities. Invest in research, development and innovation so you can compete better when the economy picks up.
Smart companies transform problems faced during a downturn into profitable opportunities and these strategies may help your company do the same.