While not every company has to work on recession-proofing its business, all businesses should look at ways to maximize what they do and how they do it. The time has come to embrace the "do more with less" mentality in order to help your business survive the current economic climate. Consider the following ways to do this.
1. Start within. It all begins with you. You need to make your business profitable no matter what the state of the economy. Find ways to make your processes and employees more efficient. Get your employees to produce more relevant work to help your company and its products and services move forward. There are many ways to do this and one of the most effective methods is through enhanced training. Many colleges offer affordable noncredit courses where employees can take classes in such things as leadership and management or advanced software training, and many industry-specific associations— which your company likely already belongs to—have local chapters that offer special lunch-and-learn events and seminars at reasonable rates. Sending employees to local trade shows also offers opportunities for them to learn more about your industry. Now is the perfect time to work with your employees to help move your company forward.
2. Protect yourself and look to the future. In an economic downturn, businesses tend to go into protection mode. They stop spending and assess their finances, operations, and sales. Maybe a few adjustments are made, and then a wait-and-see attitude is adopted. What you should be doing is asking questions like: Is there a new process or procedure that we could implement to save money? Are our employees being as productive as we need them to be? What can we stop doing—or how can we change our approach—to transition an expense in one area to improve productivity in another? It is this reexamination of your operation that will drive you to investigate what new options are available. Many businesses that are selling products are now willing to give more than they normally would. If you’re interested in a new technology or service offering, see if you can get a trial version to test it out and make sure it aligns with your business initiatives before signing a contract. Other technologies will allow you to integrate with your existing applications, which also means more money in your pocket by not having to rid yourself of your current system, or buy yet another new software product that will work with a new purchase.
The "do more with less" mentality isn’t just about saving money; it’s about transforming your business processes. Find ways to improve your constituent services with ways that will also help you improve efficiency and garner a definable ROI.
David Cuthbert Chief Operating Officer Alteva Philadelphia