Opportunity in the Chaos


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Let’s read the tea leaves for a moment: the stock market is in chaos, the economy has not really produced any real, new jobs, increases global economic tension, large corporations continue to hoard cash at record levels, and government leaders firmly divided to the point of fighting instead of building consensus. In an examination of these trends, I clearly foresee another dip in the economy in over the next twelve months.

Though I am not an economist or a financial expert, as a business growth strategist the current state of the economy concerns me. That said, I am not going to be one to panic, roll up the carpet, plan for layoffs and cutbacks, and look for the bottom to fall out. The following is the cautious, yet practical advice from Micheal Alter in Inc Magazine recently:

I advise small business owners to plan for an economy driving in reverse, most likely longer than we’d all like. Hire only when absolutely necessary. Invest cautiously. And curtail spending…at least until the indicators point you act otherwise. While this perpetuates a cycle of a slow-to-recover economy, surviving this economy with healthy revenues is your number one goal.

I would like to shift your pragmatic mindset from “survival” to opportunity. From a revenue and growth perspective, here is what I read and believe your future strategy needs to be:

  1. Plan: Anticipate the challenges a down economy will have present to your best clients. Make a list of the impact, the behaviors, and the obstacles a downturn will have on them.
  2. Identify: Strategize how your experience, capabilities, and team can coordinate with them to collectively sustain your respective businesses through an economic upheaval.
  3. Communicate: Take a leadership role in engaging them in conversations to explore new strategies, market approaches, and programs that you can jointly benefit from in this unsettling time.
  4. Collaborate: Engage in a dialogue around innovation and teamwork. These are your best clients. Your business is dependent upon their success. Hence, your existence is dependent upon helping them discover ways to team up and be successful. Bring them into the strategic tent and collectively solve the impending challenges you both face.
  5. Commit: Instead of thinking ahead to layoffs, cutbacks, and reductions, allocate your best players to this program. After all, they are and it is, your future.

The challenge with the last economic downturn is that too many organizations simply cut to catch up with declining revenues. Many were surprised at the velocity and the intensity of the storm. There are not surprises here. The clouds are on the horizon, the forecast has been made — there is a storm ahead. You can either react to its impact after the fact and lower the bar for your new standard of the size and strength of your company; or, you can plan and innovate and engage the support of others — your most valued business partners — and figure a way to gain. Chase the opportunity instead of waiting for calamity. It is a more productive path.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Cooke
I leverage my 25 years experience in sales and marketing to create and implement strategic initiatives and develop educational programs that increase both revenues and profits. I take great pride in my experience in turbulent, chaotic, and transitional work environments. It is from these experiences that I have developed my commitment to collaborative teams, strong internal and external relationships, effective communication, decisive leadership, and a cohesive, collaborative strategy as keys to sustainable revenue growth.


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