Are we or aren’t we headed for a double-dip recession? Hard to say, especially since most of us feel like we never left the first recession. So how about this premise: It doesn’t matter. For most businesses right now, demand is soft, business could be better. Forget what the economists think about the macro-situation; let’s all worry about our own businesses and get them headed in the right direction.
What can we do to deal with the current environment that is, at best, apathetic and at worst, slowing from lethargic to near dead?
1. Be confident. I’m not crazy and asking you to be confident in leadership or government. I am suggesting we all be confident in ourselves and in the value we each offer to our customers. That confidence is contagious and we could use a heavy dose of viral growth in the feel-good arena.
2. Focus on success. Focusing on avoiding failure is much like trying not to lose—it almost certainly assures that you will. Look for ways to take advantage of the current market. Focus on positives and find the growth opportunities where you can.
3. Celebrate wins. Don’t worry about the size of the wins, if you see some wins, call them out. Celebrate them. Get in the habit of winning. Constantly losing or underperforming tends to breed a culture or build a habit, even an expectation. Build an expectation of performance.
4. Help your customers. First realize if your demand is not great, chances are your customers are hurting a little too. Can you help them solve some of their problems? That is what customer-focused companies do well.
5. Co-create. Find ways to work together with your customers to identify the best way out of this bramble. There is no better time to innovate than now and no better partners than those you will be helping with your innovations.
6. Partner with your best customers. Your best customers, those where the mutual value is the highest, are terrific sources of opportunity. If you are looking to grow your market share (after all, if the market is not growing you will have to take market share to grow), look first to grow your share of wallet within your best customers (those that view you as a partner.)
Double dip or not, there are ways for us to succeed in this soft economy. And guess what happens as one-by-one companies start to succeed? We dig ourselves out of this mess. Double dip? Maybe, maybe not. Long-term recession? It’s up to us.