Economic environment always has a direct impact in businesses. When the times are good, the business sector flourishes, expands and creates employment opportunities. Correspondingly, when the economic circumstances are tough, things slow down.
There are always some businesses who manage to grow and succeed despite even in challenging times. We spoke to the each of our Directors as well as our Operations Manager on some things you can do in different business areas that can help you to take your business through uncertain times.
Business Area: Operations
Alister Siew advises you to rethink how you are doing business. This can even mean that you need to reconsider your business model, target market, business lines and pricing model. Optimize your business. "Determine what you need to do to ‘sweat your resources’ to reach the maximum capacity and productivity" Alister says.
Consider expanding offshore as a way to hedge your business against an inconsistent dollar. Provide customers with safe, cost-effective products and services and deliver them on time.
Business Area: Marketing and Sales
Chaz Reid, our Group Marketing Manager says maintaining your current customer base is critical. Developing ways to add more value can be a good way to reach higher levels of customer loyalty and secure consistent sales.
Strive to develop fresh marketing initiatives and campaigns that are driven by innovation, creativity and adaptability. Make sure you target them well.
Strive to keep the marketing budget the same. Businesses tend to decrease the amount they spend on marketing during tough times. If you don’t follow the trend, you may get more visibility, which helps you to stand out from the crowd.
Business Area: Information Technology
Vinay Iswar suggests you analyse how you could apply technological advances to develop digital products and services. You can lower the cost of ownership for your customers and help yourself to deliver in real time. Transacting with your business will also be more convenient for your customers.
Business Area: Human Resources
Vinay, who also manages the 'team' aspect of our business says determining how many staff members you need to employ during difficult economic times is no doubt a challenging decision. "If you need to reduce staff, consider getting skilled contract workers to fill the gap as business flows fluctuate. This can give you more flexibility when you need to respond to market movements." Vinay also says its integral to keep team spirits up to avoid loosing top talent during times of uncertainty.
Business Area: Management
Niran Iswar insists that business owners align all their actions with the business purpose, values and vision. "There is a direct correlation between performance and the alignment of employees to a higher business purpose." Says Niran.
Focus on what you can manage. "Our decisions can either lead to excuses or to results. Difficult economic circumstances can either be used as an excuse not to grow a business or as a reason why to manage a business to further growth and success. Which one do you choose?"
Business Area: Finance
Peter Prema says “When guarding against the risk of a recession, the best offense is a great defense.” Building a great financial defense means protecting your cash flow associated with income and expenses, as well as protecting your savings and investments. Tighten budgets where needed but also be careful not to trim areas too much, you need to ensure you are still maintaining the same quality offerings as before, maybe even more so during recession times.