Hunkering down in tough times is not the answer
I received some disturbing news last month about Arizona’s economy during the University of Arizona’s Eller College Economic Outlook luncheon.
I learned that Arizona is ranked 50th for job growth and the state’s unemployment rate is expected to rise to more than 10 percent in the first quarter of 2010. I also learned that Arizona is bankrupt with no good plan to balance the state’s budget in the next few years. Unfortunately, Arizona’s legislators have been unable to compromise on important budget decisions, primarily because of extreme political differences.
After the luncheon, I spoke to several clients and business owners about the bad news and asked them if the state’s economic and political woes would alter their business plan for 2010.
Some told me they planned to diversify and sell new products and services. Others were less ambitious with plans to hunker down, cut expenses and ride out the storm. And still others said they planned to get more involved with political issues to foster stronger leadership of their state and community.
After giving their responses a great deal of thought, I concluded that the businesses most likely to succeed despite Arizona’s economic and political troubles are those able to quickly reorganize, diversify and expand their offerings.
Being nimble and successful in tough times requires entrepreneurial vision, demand for your new products, and a highly skilled team capable of delivering the new offerings. If your team isn’t ready for this challenge, it’s your job to make sure they receive the training and skills they will need to be successful in 2010 and beyond.
Also let your team know they will be expected to do more with less in the future. Your competitors may already be outpacing your business, so it’s critical that all team members embrace your vision now and get used to wearing more hats on the job. This will become the new way of doing business for many years to come.
Still considering hunkering down and waiting out the storm? I hope not. The time is now to diversify, gather all hands on deck and set sail.