The media is using the “R” word to describe economic conditions, so it is very important to resist the knee jerk response to automatically combine the process of revising your short term operating budgets with the process of projecting your gross revenues for the coming year. Mentally, one is a minimizing process and the other is a maximizing process. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy for failure when they are blurred together.
This year, insert another step to help your marketing and sales team shake off the damage done by the budget meeting. Before generating revenue projections, try asking your marketing and sales team to identify:
- 5 problems faced by their customers that may be inadequately addressed by competitors
- 4 customers that have more potential and haven’t been getting enough attention
- 3 competitors that could be vulnerable to bankruptcy or acquisition
- 2 niche markets they have always wanted to approach
- 1 big idea that the company would try if it had more money (that could be the basis of a successful joint venture)
Having already been to a few Presidential Inaugural balls in my lifetime, I knew what it is like to stand for hours in frigid January air in front of the US Capitol with a green section/area ticket hung around my neck. Given the recession, I really can’t afford the distraction, but I just couldn’t stay away from the Inaugural events this year.
When I went to Wilmington on Saturday [Jan. 17, 2009], I noticed the hands of the people at the train station when President Elect Obama spoke. There were the weathered hands of an elderly woman next to the tiny hands of the infant she held who must have been her great grandchild. There was the energetic wave of the soldier in uniform. Who knows if he is in active service at the moment or just felt compelled to make a statement? There were leather gloves for the people in business suits and the knit ones for the people who wore nursing uniforms. As one couple cried and hugged, his greasy laborer hands and her perfectly manicured fingernails came together. And there were the strong but small hands of lots of children pushing and pulling on the coats of adults to make sure they would get a chance to see. I couldn’t help but feel the sense of hope conveyed in those hands …while most of us are wringing our hands with worry over wars and recession.
Within a few weeks of major changes on Wall Street, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) held its annual convention in Washington, DC [October 2008] attracting board members from 1500 different organizations. We (attendees) were polled several times across the course of the conference. Many of the conclusions were no surprise.
The consensus of NACD attendees seemed to be that:
- the recession will worsen as we enter the new year and could last up to 2 years
- greater regulation will result from the sub prime mortgage disaster
- the board rating industry is headed for a shake up, since ratings provided little to no meaningful warning about which companies were at risk
- formulas for executive compensation will dramatically change
- the proxy voting process will be re evaluated in response to pressure from shareholder rights advocates
- board members will need to review the financial strength of the providers of their E&O insurance policies
I earned NACD’s certification to serve on a corporate board and have always appreciated their panel presentations that focus on a major area of board responsibility (audit, governance, executive compensation, etc). However at this year’s NACD conference, what interested me the most were the conversations in the hallway and attendee responses to general session speakers. To me, many attendees seemed surprisingly nonchalant and confident that their companies will continue to grow. Their remarks were an excellent reminder that a relatively small change constitutes a recession and business opportunities remain fairly constant for most businesses.
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My life is filled with interactions with bright, ambitious, active people:
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· And more
Therefore, my weekly blog at here and at www.TheGrowthStrategist.com is a place for me to share timely practical examples of how you can succeed in Achieving Accelerated Growth With Sustained Profitability® through:
o adapting the approaches being used by the 2% fastest growing companies to your situation
o being centered despite recessions, distractions, and other challenges
o capitalizing on opportunities to have a true competitive advantage
o executing growth strategies (specialization, geographic expansion, franchising, joint ventures)
Of course, I do not disclose proprietary information….but information in my blog entries is the real deal.