This is trite, but true. And as global economies pause in a virtual reality, we all wonder about what the future will bring. Every company is going to experience a combination of effects that will challenge them to retool in order to operate profitably under the new sets of rules.
What are you going to do?
The quick answer to that question is, we’re going to help and guide our clients to increase, or at least, maintain their sales. That is what they pay us for. But, is that all? Will you be able to convert challenges into opportunities? That question will be answered in many different ways. But all circumstances, no matter how unique, will share common features.
For instance, as revenue falls, owners and managers will have to consider staff reduction. Many of you are already addressing it. Regardless of where you are in the process, I suggest you take certain steps.
1. Solve a specific problem
Most companies have specific problems that nag to be resolved, but no time to resolve them. This could be the time to address them. Your staff is less productive than you wished they’d be, hence the prospective down-sizing you’re contemplating. Why not assign them to solving the problem(s) while you still have them on payroll?
For example, your problem may be your need to increase productivity. Often, employees post part of their time to client accounts that aren’t budgeted to carry their time. This is a realization issue. You aren’t able to bill all of the time charged. But, you can correct the shortfall using a combination of new policies and procedures combined with the right technology. The technology is generally new, and must be purchased and installed.
That’s going to take money and take time. Well, you’ve got the time now. As for the cost, it will be less expensive to do in the economic environment we’re in.
2. Improve Productivity
This is the time to press your staff to be more efficient. None of us want to lose our jobs. The serious employees, the good ones; you know who they are. They will buckle down, learn new technologies and methodologies, and make the necessary changes.
The goal is to improve the profitability with current clients, and when you win new business, on-board them into tighter, more efficient processes and procedures. As the Economy recovers and you grow back with it, new employees and clients will step into a refined operating system. This will speed your recovery.
3. Improve your Operating Model
By adopting better practices and procedures, you will be improving the way your business operates. This will make you more competitive. You know as well as I do that it’s difficult to increase the price of service to clients. So, delivering lower, cost-effective services to clients will increase profits while remaining price-competitive with your competition.
Use your down-time now to secure your future.
In the meantime, I will follow up this commentary with a list of technology options for an agency to choose from. If you are currently using a software package for these purposes, please reply to this post and tell us which software you use and what you do and don’t like about it.