Ask two economists where the economy is heading and you may well get three answers. In uncertain times such as these, organisations need to hope for the best while planning for the worst.
So what can be done in the face of such uncertainty? Here are some areas to consider in your contingency planning:
FOCUS ON CUSTOMERS
Value is more important than ever, so identify how your customers define value and, if necessary, re-evaluate your offering.
Look for gaps in the market – in terms of both the offering and pricing.
Intensify customer service strategies so that your customers wouldn’t want to go to anyone but you.
Rework sales collateral to reflect the current offering. Make sure that it’s modern, up-to-date and web-friendly.
FOCUS ON PEOPLE
Your leaders are the key to developing an adaptive workforce. Keep investing in their coaching and development.
Innovation is one of the attributes necessary to identify and deliver class-leading customer service. Make sure that your culture actively encourages and supports this.
Find out what really motivates and demotivates staff – it’s not simply money.
FOCUS ON COSTS
Build resilience into your organisation.
Reduce fixed expenses: identify areas for long term cost reduction – not just the quick fixes. Take a good look at back office procedures.
Control cash flow: overdue accounts are a drain and are more likely to default in the event of a downturn.
Reduce inventory and smarten your supply chain.
Strengthen reserves: reduce borrowings and build a war chest.
THEN RELAX AND GET READY FOR GROWTH
It’s a short term problem, but be prepared to think long term.