Posted on : 27-02-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Business
Tags: Putting the bounce back
Do you own your own business or do you work for a mid-to-small sized business which has undergone downsizing, reconnoitering, or other kinds of emergency rescue procedures to keep the company from hemorrhaging through lost profits and earnings? You can read any number of blogs/articles at ALLTOP to learn the latest stats on the economy of the U.S. and the world, the latest technologies and advice from business experts about company strategies.
During the course of several conversations with people who either own their own business or work for a small business the last three years of a volatile economy has definitely wreaked havoc in many places of work. The over arching concerning for all is how to put the bounce back into the business when the fear of going under is looming and ever present. In talking with a partner of a design firm which has provided design services in a niche industry for over 20 years, they have recently had to make the difficult decision to cut their staff (furloughing as many as possible) and cut the remaining staff salaries drastically due to the work that is dribbling in (instead of flowing). Their niche industry is such that when the economy takes a hit, their clients tend to tighten up their belts and want to wait till money is flowing more freely. It’s easy for many of their clients to believe that the kind of work that this design firm can do for them is more of frivolous than necessary. However, if you talk with any of the partners of the design firm you will learn in a matter of minutes how their work actually can save their clients money and aggravation in the long run. There is definitely an opportunity to educate the community and new clients as to how their business goes much deeper than just being a pretty face.
So how does this design firm put the bounce back in their step? Ideally, they’d hire a Coach (like, say, perhaps the author of this blog) to conduct thorough and investigative interviews of all the partners, designers and staff (who make the work happen!) in an expedient manner to understand what each person does and how they operate as part of the team. This would be the ideal, but with a business suffering from anorexia, the next best thing is for the Coach to meet with the person who brings the clients to the door. In the case of my friend’s business, one of the senior partners has brilliantly brought in work on a regular basis which has dribbled down considerably over the last six months. Then the crippling economy, prospective clients gripped by fear and the draining of the company’s coffers injected a state of paralysis into his footsteps braking them into a slow, but steady, walk. Now the creative energy that used to inspire him to put together proposals for innovative, beautiful and functional work is stuck inside a loop of frenetic anxiety inside of his head which in turn is communicated to the remaining staff members spreading the paralysis throughout the company.
If I could, I would take this man for a walk in the park and get him to talking. I’d acknowledge his fears of course, he needs to bleed that out of his system so that he can then focus on what is possible for his business. Then I would start asking him questions about his most favorite work that his company has done. Why? What made that work so enjoyable? How did he get the work? I’d want to ask him historical questions about some of the lineages of clients that his firm has worked for to learn if similar lineages have been explored in other areas. After more than 24 years of providing a very important kind of design service for many satisfied clients, this man and his business has a lot of wisdom that can be shared with many. Perhaps there is a new kind of service that they can offer clients that marries what the wisdom of their past with what is needed now and in the future. Because I know a few people connected with this business, I’m privy to the fact that their firm has a pool of genius brains with talent which is just waiting to be tapped for new ways of doing things.
The senior partner has brought their company rich and satisfying work over the years and still has the energy and ability to create new business even in our anemic times he just needs someone to remind him where to find his the spark of ingenuity. Unfortunately, this is a case of the fear trickling down from the top and pooling in the ranks which then creates more fear at the top and a deeper pool for everyone. I know that, in the case of this leader, when he discovers a way to suspend his daily dose of fear and anxiety it will allow his windows of creativity to open up again into a world of possibility and new roads to success.
How have you discovered new ways to put the bounce back in your business?