As I transverse the city of Bombay, meeting different people, it is surprising that most of the people I meet, accept the fact that they’re not ‘Growing’ at the pace they wanted to; but those numbers were aggressive so they are content growing the way they are.
Some of them also said, It is easy to make excuses about economy, government et all but the fact remains that in some categories there may be a slowdown. Accept it, counter it and it is business as usual.
I have survived 4-5 slowdowns, melt downs or whatever you may wish to call them AND survived, grown stronger. Some lessons that I’ve learnt over the years :
1) It does not matter whether you’re a Brand or an organisation – Do not forget why you are in business – to provide value & fulfil a need state.
2) Communication – One of the most important point, which managers keep forgetting & even leaders. In such times, communication should be to keep winds of optimism blowing.
3) Sense Opportunity in crisis, use the opportunity to diversify, acquire, align business. It is better to use the time to focus on diversifying – avoid putting eggs in one basket – eg Launch a different sales channel/platform, product. Correction of business in terms of product, channel, space, productivity alignment is also easier.
4) Focus on cash flows – This becomes all the more relevant during the slow times, use every legal trick in the book to ensure that there is enough cash in the bank for 4-6 months.
5) Marketing activity will need to be sharp to assess payback. Marketers will have to go back to ROI phase.
6) Sales will be the key. Bring about the concentration on tactical sales generation. Eg of stock liquidation, offers, benefits to bring in the Sales & thereby get the cash flows strong.
7) PR would still be one of the most cost effective image building tool but expect agencies to deliver demonstrable value.
8) Hire Entrepreneurs or give the stretch challenges to Intrapreneurs.
9) Do not spend time, money on too much aesthetics – product, packaging etc because at such time, Functionality is more important than aesthetics.
10) Above all, have the patience, ability to learn & anticipate, coupled with the ability to choose the fights that you want to win.
These points are in no way complete & comprehensive; neither is this nuclear science, however when ‘Slowdown’ occurs, at times there is a brain freeze which is worse than any step you take. At such time, some points come in useful.
What are the other points that you deem relevant, please share and I would like to add them also.