Archive for October, 2009

Keeping Up Morale

October 18, 2009

If, as many experts are saying, the recession is nearing an end, it is important to keep staff morale up.
Over the past few months, we have talked with a numbr of managers who offer the following thoughts about keeping staff positive and focused.
1. Keep communications open between management and employees. Keep them apprised of developments, both good and bad.
2. Keep staff occupied and focused on sales and marketing. If operations slow, devote resources to improving internal needs, sprucing up the workplace, paying attention to matters that in busier times are not fully addressed. Plan activities to prepare the company for busier times. If cuts need to be made, tell staff about them.
3. Above all, management must remain optimistic and communicate that optimism to staff.
4. Make sure cuts are distributed evenly, including management. Nothing hurts morale more than the perception that lower staff is taking the brunt of cuts while senior management is unscathed.

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Planning for 2010

October 4, 2009

Some thoughts for you based on our research and interviews with 1000s of small business owners.
In a recent survey completed by Information Strategies, Inc., 720 respondents indicated they were taking steps to meet anticipated greater demand in late 2009 and through 2010.

Interestingly, a majority of these company leaders had experienced other economic downturns.

Review your own customer service and sales requests and try to discern trends. Often times, internal data will tip a manager off to what is happening in the field. Customer service and sales personnel often have a keen insight into what is happening.
Poll your current and past clients as to what is happening and pool their responses into a meaningful pattern. (One focus group manager said he moved quickly to a more expansive model when his largest and smallest clients both ordered goods on the same day.)
Look backward at your supply chain and see if stockpiles are shrinking, indicating greater demand. Make sure this is not because of reduced activity on the part of suppliers but because of increased demand.
Build your 2010 plan on these trends and remember that “the best defense is a good offense.”