The advantage of being the ‘old man of the firm’ is that you’ve seen it all before. The only disadvantage is that you can fool yourself into believing that you have seen it all before. In my experience, each recession and economic crisis are unalike and therefore as with antibiotics, you will probably need a similar but different remedy to pull you out of what appears to be the same symptoms as earlier.
Back to the subject, two good things about a recession. The first good thing about a recession is that everyone that faces economic uncertainty is, sooner or later, forced to face a familiar word with a new definition: ‘Resourcefulness’.
Everyday in business someone mentions ‘resources’ (usually complaining that they do not have enough) but in times of serious economic downturn ‘Resourcefulness’ becomes the key to survival. Only the very poor in our society see no difference between good times and bad times, they have to be 100% resourceful all of the time, simply to survive.
If the key elements of resources are: People, Cash, Buildings, Machines (tools) and Infrastructure etc. then being resourceful obviously means making the most of what you have. But my tip is to make the most of what you don’t have. And I do not mean stealing! Let me explain…
Imagine you only have one sales person for a very big area. In times of economic crisis you will probably regret not having employed that extra person when times were good. Your one sales person makes on average 5 sales visits per day – but who to call on, who in these difficult times is still spending money? Of course she should have a good idea, but she is only one person in a very large area.
The resourceful company sales director thinks on their feet and looks for a solution. One trick I have used very effectively is to look to my suppliers for help. The photo copier sales person. Take them out for lunch, pay for the meal. The big copier companies train their sales teams very well. In recession times they only retain the best and because their world is so competitive, they tend to cover their geographical area better than anyone else. Their sales people know exactly who is buying who isn’t. Which company car parks are full with new cars and which aren’t. Tell your photocopier sales person about your company get them interested, give them your target profile and very soon you’ll be repaid with some very useful information. Of course it is best if you let your sales person have this idea so that they can take the credit – a lead they find is always followed up hotter than one of yours and it is they that will have to make friends with copier sales person in the long-run.
So being resourceful in everything we do is great because we kick out what is not working, find creative solutions to previously ignored in-efficiencies and generate new hope.
If being Resourceful is one of the great things about a recession the second is that (in my experience) recessions do not last forever and the companies that have been the most resourceful all the way through, come out the strongest afterwards.
Tip for the week, prepare a lecture on resourcefulness, inspire those around you to be resourceful, identify resources that you didn’t even know you had and begin to use them well.
Have a good week,