During Recession – Upgrade or Downscale
What is the foundation of successful selling? Simply put, building a great rapport with clients. Who doesn’t want sales! To a large extent, the business thrives, only when sales thrive. Recession – an ugly word, but a cycle, economy cannot escape from. This is the time when companies bring in cost cutting strategies, follow lean management, lay-off employees – even good ones. All of these changes are made in order to survive in the market, till the turnaround happens.
Recession happens when there is an economic decline, or the GDP growth is negative. This period lasts for minimum, at least two consecutive quarters, before the Recovery stage follows. During recession, there’s a significant drop in the five major economic indicators: real GDP, income, employment, manufacturing and sales.
How do we tackle this period? A question for which answers are not so simple, but there are ways that can bring people and companies out of this quicksand.
How can one be prepared for recession?
Study the economic cycle – Being aware is most important. If we are aware, we are prepared. Slow down, can start in several areas like employment, consumer spending, manufacturing, salary hikes and so on. It would start gradually and then become more apparent. It is a vicious cycle – could start with a drop-in consumer demand for various products, no demand then no manufacture, then no sales, companies would lay off workers or not recruit new ones, thus other sectors are also affected – one can relate this phenomena to “the domino effect”. One follows another.
How do we beat the downturn?
I won’t talk about statistics. This article will be more about its psychological effects and the ways to come out of this period stronger and more knowledgeable.
Recession affects every business, every individual, in small and big ways. No one can escape it completely. But yes, if we are prepared and have taken necessary steps and measures to overcome it, we will get through this phase without losing much and most important, preserving our sanity.
Be Positive – don’t panic – Panicking at such times is not the answer. Panic is an emotion triggered by fear which can cause people to take rash decisions. It could be self-destructive. It is important to be positive during the recession phase. Understand – As sure as the spring will follow the winter, prosperity and economic growth will follow recession……….Robert Foster Bennett.
Educating ourselves & our team – get their support – Initiate talks about recession. Garner support of team members. Brainstorm on solutions like alternate ideas, supportive therapy. Form support groups of team members, vendors and customers. Lead the way out of this crisis. Remember – there is a positive in recession too. It brings about change which brings with it opportunities. It’s just a matter of how we perceive it.
Upgrade or Downscale – It’s situational – This is the best time to think of up-grading our skills and knowledge. Attend trainings that will make us even more efficient. Efficiency will lead to better productivity which means better quality of products and services leading to happier customers and thus a better bottom line. Focus on quality. That’s what wins in the long run. Where downscaling is concerned, we cannot give lesser quality goods or services. We could lose customers this way. What could be done would be to maintain quality but take out the freebies or discounts. One could even cut cost on traditional marketing and opt for online, maintain an inventory of raw materials/merchandise purchased and sold. Look around and you will find many such areas where one can reduce costs.
Evaluate and eliminate excess – lean management – Don’t get into taking loans or getting into debts during this period. Instead, cut losses, reduce inventories and overheads. Cut down on non-performing staff. The smart efficient ones will be willing to deliver and walk that extra mile when necessary.
Keep a check on finances – Very important. A penny saved is a penny earned. Watch your pocket. Track your finances daily. Install a tracking system to monitor daily expenditures and receipts. Whatever is profitable – keep it, what is loss making – let it go.
Keep existing customers happy – whatever the cycle, ensure you always take care of the customer pipeline you have built. It would be smart to maintain continuous levels of communication with them to remain visible and to also inform them you are here to stay.
Be mentally strong – One has to be mentally strong to plan his way out of recession. How you respond to the wave of recession will decide what turn your business or career will take. One suggestion would be to bring in more awareness of our self and what shapes us. I have been fortunate to be exposed to the tools of NLP- Neuro Linguistic Programming, which has enabled me to create effective responses to any given situation to get the result I desire. NLP can help people who are in trapped situations. It does away with the, ‘Why me’ state of mind and inspires us to come out of this turmoil successfully.
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