maandag 30 maart 2009

Jim Pinto: Strategies for the downturn

Article from Jim Pinto's e-news:

No one really knows whether or when the current economic slide will turn around. My own view is that this is an inflection point, a serious break from the past, a wake-up call from old illusions.

For well-managed companies, this downturn offers the chance to re-examine fundamental value propositions and develop new strategies. Here are seven key strategies not just to survive, but to thrive, in the current business environment:

  1. Upgrade human capital: Look around your organization. Who is rising to the current challenges? Look for leaders and support them.
  2. Conserve cash: Reduce and restructure debt, preserve cash.
  3. Invest in innovation: Re-direct your best people to innovation projects. Move early to anticipate emerging needs.
  4. Acquire innovative start-ups: Look for attractive sources of future growth. Do NOT acquire ailing competitors just to consolidate.
  5. Focus on customers: Double the amount of communication with existing good customers. Don't acquire your competitors' cast-offs. Rebalance your customer portfolio.
  6. Don't stop advertising: Sign longer-term contracts with good media that's anxious to serve winners. Refine your advertising bang-for-the-buck, specifically with performance-based pricing.
  7. Don't cut prices: Don't try to match low-cost competitors-they'll eliminate themselves. Work your sales relationships to keep price-conscious customers loyal.
Developing a positive mindset is crucial. It's important to keep asking, "What's the opportunity?" as opposed to, "How am I going to survive?" If you keep your eyes focused on opportunity, you can see it and create it. Remain agile; be poised to grow. You can not only ride out shaky economic times, but emerge stronger and more successful.

For positive individuals at levels below top management, I have simple advice: Don't wait to be riffed, laid-off or whatever the expression. Look for good, complementary partners, and start your own company. This is a GOOD time to DO something different. 

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