Courageous Strategies For Your Business Recovery
Copyright 2010 TIGERS Success Series
Two years ago, Alan Beaulieu - principal at the Institute for Trend Research - predicted that the United States and its global partners would be heading into a deep recession, including a stock market correction. This notion differed greatly from mainstream economists, including those at the Federal Reserve Bank.
On January 22, 2010 at the Central Oregon Economic Development Business Forecast luncheon, Beaulieu offered a new prognosis for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. "Get your bottlenecks worked out now," was his advice to business owners.
Beaulieu, armed with graphs and 30 year data streams, is predicting a modest rise in consumer spending in 2010 followed by an increase in demand by 20 percent in 2011, spurring higher oil and gas prices.
Therefore, 2010, 2011 and 2012are the times to accomplish the following activities:
-- Refine business and manufacturing procedures.
-- Correct work flow and manufacturing bottlenecks.
-- Purchase and upgrade equipment.
-- Build team capacity through cross functional training and team development.
-- Resolve business culture problems to improve team morale and productivity.
-- Get the core business functions in alignment.
-- Spend money on marketing and advertising.
These activities, says Beaulieu, are for courageous leaders to fund now. In doing so, prepared companies will be ready for 20 percent and higher growth due to increased demand and reduced competition from businesses that did not prepare.
Another prediction is that inflation will rise in 2011. This means that interest rates will increase with demand. Therefore, businesses that are upgrading and getting the kinks out now are doing so with lower cost dollars.
Given the predictions, as a business leader what does this mean for you?
Some leaders are holding onto their businesses by threads. The past two years have been brutal. For many, they still do not see any light at the end of the tunnel and are ready to sell their businesses or lock the doors.
This means that businesses will be up for sale or competition will decrease at a time when values are at an all time low. As an excellent way to expand, purchasing existing businesses does make sense when business functions are aligned and the purchaser's business culture is held true to course and not allowed to waffle during expansion.
In TIGERS Among Us: Winning Business Team Cultures And Why They Thrive (2010, Three Creeks Publishing, TigersAmongUs.com), team culture consultant, Dianne Crampton, gives leaders and teams the framework for team culture refinement so that expanding businesses do not compromise their cultures.
According to Crampton, "Consciously choosing a business personality, or way of being, is one of the most important decisions a business founder or leader can make, and small business owners and entrepreneurs creating new companies often overlook it. It is also often neglected in business mergers and acquisitions or in any planning scenario focused on short-term returns rather than long-term results." Crampton adds, "Culture is a critical part of the strategic planning process. It helps an organization determine, through core value demonstrations, what it will be like to work in the business and to do business with it."
Ultimately, according to Crampton, many acquisitions fizzle or drain resources away from growth when human resource problems could have been avoided through proper planning and culture preparation. Therefore, in the first quarter of 2010, leaders who take the time to encourage their employees with an accurate accounting of their business solvency will lay the foundation for growth. Likewise, leaders can bolster their employees' spirits by producing a list of initiatives that show employees how their daily contributions build greater stability so that the company is prepared to spring forward without a sputter.
Finally, if businesses have been scaled back, now is the time to fund marketing budgets and add back support services for those business functions that will be needed to manage growth. This can be accomplished through employee cross training, by analyzing skills that will be needed and developing existing employees, merging job functions, and by hiring temporary workers for entry level positions.
What this means for existing employees is that now is the time to develop their skills so that your business is more scalable and can do more with less through entry level employees. And if your employer is not willing to train you, take it upon yourselves to do so as you explore new places to send your resumes through 2011 and 2012.