Running Your Business During an Economic Down Time

handsWe’re in a recession, a deep one and neither the government nor the economists can say when it will end. I don’t have to tell you that business is tight and decision-makers are avoiding all but the most urgent and necessary purchases.

One of the few people I know who’s business is booming is the Repo Man down the block – but he’s been shot at twice this week. Is it all doom and gloom or are there steps you can take to make it through?

Here are a few things I’ve seen work in the past:

  1. Be open with your employees. Don’t keep them in the dark as to business conditions. Too many “closed-door” meetings can really spook a company’s workforce.
  2. Ask your employees for suggestions. Make them part of the “solutions team”. They will often know where corners can be cut or duplicate procedures eliminated. Your employees are not just your employees but your business partners. There’s no one who wants to see you stay afloat more than your employees.
  3. If you have to make workforce cuts, do it rationally and compassionately. Of course you hate laying people off – you’re not a “bad” person – you’re a business person with the responsibility for keeping the enterprise going.
  4. Work with your vendors. They’re in the same position you are. Instead of taking 60 days to pay an invoice, offer part now and part later. Again it’s being straight with all of your stakeholders.

I’m not advocating 100%, unfiltered information, but something that will communicate an authentic disclosure and a willingness / desire to work together. These are opportunities to forge stronger relationships with existing stakeholders and new ones with others.

What are your ideas for making it to the other side?

Michael Shapiro, Dynamic Management Solutions, Inc.

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