I have encountered numerous companies where their current business plan is "Do Nothing and Wait Out the Global Economic Situation." What does this tell your employees? What does this tell your customers and business partners about who you are?
During the course of a company's life cycle they may use creative statements and phrases to convey a message, but "do nothing is not one of them." The phrase "Do nothing" seems to be reserved for use during catastrophic instances such as global economic corrections, wars, and natural disasters. With these few select words spoken in the right manner with the right voice inflection you can conjure up an image or impact that says, "We are dealing with big problems, BIG PROBLEMS, but do not ask me about them. The problems are just too big to talk about, but have pity on me and nod your head with that I understand your problem nod. This way I know that that you feel my pain."
The issue is that a phrase of this type will definitely have a much wider impact than you may have planned. In fact, the phrase may be picked up by members of your team and used when dealing with business partners or customers as a de facto response for any business related issue. Those who hear you utter that phrase may sense that you are in much worse condition than they are in, or that you are out of control. Thus, they may not want to do business with you as a customer or a business partner.
The more that is written on the current economic situation, the more it seems that nobody knows what it will take to move the economy forward; unfortunately, there is no manual to deal with every situation that you will encounter in life or business. From a business perspective, this may be a very familiar situation. So, this is the time to peel back the layers involved with the processes and procedures within your company and to get closer to your business elements.
If you have to control your costs and thus impact personnel and activities then do it under the guise of a new way at looking at the business. Don't roll out the "Do Nothing" speech, "We are not going to be able to do anything, we have to rein in the costs and wait out the storm." First of all, this is what many people may be expecting from companies especially considering all the negative media we are deluged with, secondly, if you ‘do nothing' this may place you and the company in a weak position not just now, but as market indicators change, you may not be ready to adjust accordingly.
So, direct your team through a different strategy by asking them for their input with regards to ways to streamline internal processes and procedures and/or input on external programs to open up new channels for customer interaction. You may be surprised at what comes out from your team's inputs. Employees tend to understand a lot more about what is happening around them than I feel that companies give them credit for. So, elicit their input and make them feel like they are contributing to a solution and not wallowing in the problem.
In addition, you should meet with your business partners and open the discussion on opportunities for both groups to work closer together to improve communications, services, or attract customers. The ability to turn a negative situation into a positive action will send a message that you are facing the challenges and moving forward.
The challenges we face have not created more time in the day, nor have they reduced the time, but they may have forced us to focus on areas that were foreign, for example Internet Marketing and related activities. We have become accustom to running at a very quick pace addressing many different issues at once and trying to manage our limited time. In many cases anything Internet related was addressed by default, "it is the thing to do," "everyone is succeeding by using social networks," "my kids use the Internet more than they watch TV;" I am not sure what relevance that last reference will have for a business, but I hear it.
So, this is the time to learn more about your business and tackle different areas and to get closer to the elements of your company. For example, this may be the time to demystify the Internet and what is becoming one of the most powerful tools ever created for connecting with existing and new customers. Many of our clients are now asking more specific questions pertaining to this medium, they are opening new doors in their mind and starting to map the power of the tool to their respective business versus letting the tool drive them. They are moving beyond the hype and the onslaught of email solutions that they receive. They are digging into the core elements of Internet Marketing and uncovering that the customer is driving the medium, so they need to understand who their customer is. Companies are learning that their web presence is more than just having a website, that their website needs to be more than an on-line brochure, and that it should connect and communicate with a customer.
There may be many different issues that you can uncover within your business infrastructure that may need to be addressed with respect to increased understanding, time, and/or cost saving. It does not matter what you tackle, but saying, "We are doing nothing," is not the right response, it is not an option.
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