Archive for December, 2010

You Have To Hit Bottom Before You Can Bounce Back

You Have To Hit Bottom Before You Can Bounce Back

We’ve all heard this phrase and it’s usually someone trying to justify their poor decision making, riding a stock as the price drops to zero or recognizing their inability to make drastic changes until they have no choice.

I visited two different businesses today in the same market niche and within 10 miles of each other.  Their industry was hit hard during the financial crunch two years ago.  Both were in about the same shape financially in the Fall of 2008.  Today, one is lean, mean and growing market share while the other is still facing dropping revenue and zero or negative growth.  What’s the difference?

Three months into the financial system failure, one company recognized that doing business the same way they had done for the last 15 years was just not going to work when everything was turned upside down.  Instead of laying anyone off they cut payroll across the board 10% along with all extra expenses.  They asked their employees to look at every part of their policies and procedures to see if there were areas they could streamline, improve the customer experience or just remove completely if it was ineffective.  With the pay cut their employees knew things were serious and everyone is still committed to continuous improvement.

The other company kept payrolls the same, made no changes in their business model and basically hunkered down and hoped for the best.  They made lip service to seeing where they could cut costs and improve the customer experience to increase market share but there was no incentive to make those improvements.  With revenue falling the morale company wide is poor and instead of working as a team there is constant friction between employees about who’s working harder or who’s taking more vacation time.  At this point it’s going to take a huge housecleaning or a serious jolt to get their attention.

What about you?

Do you see the huge changes that online marketing and sales is bringing to the marketplace, yet you keep doing what you’re familiar with and hope for the best?

Do changing government regulations threaten to destroy your entire business model (think health care), yet you haven’t even begun to develop other products or diversify your market offerings?

Do you recognize the rising expectations that customers have in the sales experience, yet you still treat them as if they are ancillary to your entire business process?  Make them navigate a horrible phone menu system, wait forever to talk to a real person and leave them wishing they were dealing with someone else?

Don’t wait to hit bottom before you are willing to make wholesale changes to make your company better.  Whether it’s new product offerings, better processes and procedures and especially the quality of interaction you have with your clients.

Your customers will drive further, pay more and tell their friends about a company that treats them like royalty and provides a product or service that fills a felt need or solves their problem.

Start today and make it happen.

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