Enduring The Economy -- Staying Afloat
Reinforce how you can help customers. “Let me know if there’s anything I can do,” is a trite way of communicating your assistance to clients. Show them how you can save them time and money, and maybe you’ll garner more work share.
Rally ’round what’s most important. Keeping an eye on the most important elements of your business during a downturn is tough, but possible. Hold meetings with production people about paying attention to details. Cross-train to improve flexibility. Get rid of poor performers and ensure your top people that their positions are secure.
Form a “find the growth” task force. Challenge your people to examine your markets and others for the best growth opportunities.
The idea of empowering employees to help guide your company through the turbulence is a philosophy shared by many industry consultants. Clint Bolte, principal of C. Clint Bolte & Associates, notes that solving problems and identifying opportunities will provide traction during an upswing.
“Printers that just tighten their belts and cut back—when an extended downturn comes—end up cutting muscle and sinew along with fat. And, when the bounce back occurs, it’s so much more difficult for them to recover. That will be a key differentiating factor between companies in 2009.”
While credit lines will be extended only to establishments that can demonstrate risk-worthiness, those that will invest in new gear during 2009 do not take their opportunities lightly, Bolte says. Purchases will be a direct result of customer needs and demands. Large-scale purchases will give way to creative software deals that allow printers to get into programs without overwhelming ramping-up costs.
“It’s a very realistic quid pro quo that’s going to be met with a real partnership attitude on behalf of suppliers, printers and so forth,” he adds. “These are things that will effectively create more credit, or more access to capital, than might otherwise appear to be the case.”