According to a number of economists, the coming year should usher in the much promised turnaround. One of the fears, expressed by our president and a number of leaders, is that businesses will have become so efficient and risk adverse, that they will resist new hiring and expansion.
That would seem prudent but could prove harmful in the long run. The reluctance to grow when the economy begins to improve is the equivalent to timing the stock market. By the time you realize that your customers are back, and buying, it may be too late to regain them. In other words, you might not have enough band width to handle the business, due to a number of factors…
• A reduced number of competitors weeded out from this down turn.
• A lack of suppliers which can help you fulfill orders
• A lack of staff to handle an increase in volume
Just as this economy caught business owners off guard and bloated with excess staff and inventory, it can do the same on the opposite side — make them too cautious to move when signs of improvement start to show. You will never have a better opportunity to gain “share of voice” for your brand than in a down market. Competitors are quiet and waiting things out. They are also hunkered down and looking for the same sustained sales results before investing in any type of growth. But it will be the businesses that can step up and meet this growth, right out of the gate, that will gain the most from the upturn. At that point, getting back in the game will require more expensive advertising.
If 2010 is “the year,” then what are you doing in anticipation of a possible uptick in business? Are you in hunker down mode? Or are you quietly lining up quality suppliers, keeping resumes current, and creating a plan of action to ramp up production in a short time frame? It’s a matter of being proactive vs. reactive, and it can happen on both ends of an economic cycle. If 2010 is the year, make sure it’s your year.