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Posts Tagged ‘Economic downturn’

Is the Downturn the New Turn?

This economy may no longer be considered the “downturn” in the economy.  It may actually be the “new” economy.  In other words… the excess buying, spending, traveling, and business of the past may be history.  This may hold true for businesses as well as individuals.

We will all need to do and accomplish more with less:

What Leads to Job Burnout?

There are many causes of job burnout.  Sometimes it can be that a person is working in a job that is not properly suited to their natural talents and abilities, causing them to work much harder than the work duties actually require.  Other reasons cited for burnout include a mis-match of key values between the company and the employee.  Someone who is working outside of his or her value system is a prime candidate for burnout.

Other work-related causes of burnout are:

  • Lack of a feeling of control over your work
  • Unclear or “moving” job expectations
  • Working in a high-pressured environment
  • Lack of recognition or appreciation for a job well-done

Three Strategic Planning To-Do’s during Tough Times

I had an interesting discussion last week with an executive who suggested that Strategic Planning was of NO Value during this economic downturn. This was intriguing to me as a short sighted statement from a very smart individual. Sorry if that sounds arrogant, yet, I have experienced this type of economic downturn in a regional group of states during the mid-80’s. And, the key to surviving is to totally understand your options and making the critical choices for success. Winging it is not an option.

Assuming that you agree that Strategic Planning is still – if not more – important today, what do you do differently in your strategic thinking process? There are three things you want to cover in your current planning activities. These include the following…

Is the Recession Coming to a Close?

I ask this question each week as a form of reality check. If I answer with a “huh?”, then I know it is not over. This week I had a different answer, so something must be up – or – over – or – coming to a close.

You see this week my answer contained five signals that things must be improving on the home front and maybe I should begin to prepare for an improved business future. So, what were my signals or triggers that got an answer to my question this week? Here are the five things:

Dumb Questions to Ask a Customer – Part Two

Yesterday I gave you my top three of Dumb and Stupid Sales Questions. Today, I will provide you with my runner-ups that are also Stupid and dumb Questions that should not be used by sales people.

First I want to share why asking Stupid or Dumb Questions is really bad for your sales success. There are several reasons and here are a few of the critical reasons.

  1. You will not differentiate yourself from the other inexperienced or bad sales people. You will be just like the thundering herd of sales people who ask bad questions and bore the customer or prospect.
  2. It will be more difficult to transition into the really good questions that help a customer or prospect. When the customer hears the same old questions or dumb questions, you lose rapport with the buyer – who often start asking about price so they can tell you that your price is too high – and you will believe the buyer and leave. The buyer accomplishes their mission of getting rid of the boring sales person.
  3. Poor questions lead to the customer or prospect taking control of the interview or conversation placing you back in the commodity bubble. Again, when the questions become boring or common, the buyer loses focus and interest. When this happens they take back control by asking questions they want asked without you having the insight of their responses and information. A bad situation gets worst and you lose.

Okay, it’s time for some more stupid and dumb questions:

Not Using KISS Caused our Financial Meltdowns

KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) is an old principle used to remind sales people and leaders to keep things simple. It is probably more important today than ever before. Why do I say this? Because complexity seems to be everywhere and is causing our overall economic losses.

While complexity is present in many areas of our lives today, and  certainly is necessary for development, change and progress. However, when it is over-used or applied to people or financial issues, then it goes to far and needs to reined in. In fact, as a rule of thumb – if something is too complex for the average person to understand – then it is time to say no or to reexamine the purpose and content of item in question.

All the financial meltdowns were caused by smart people who made things very complex and confusing to the average person. If they had been asked more often to explain it in common terms with both the pros and cons, then maybe others would have caught the problems earlier and saved millions and now billions of dollars from loss.

It takes high self-esteem for anyone to question a smart person about their work. Smart people (who are morally corrupt) will purposely attempt to confuse you and then intimidate you if you appear not to understand. They are counting on you to lack the courage to question what they are doing.

During my career, I have seen multiple meltdowns for investors or businesses. The common theme has been someone creating a complex model that others don’t truly understand. The problem as I see it, is the other common factor is the relationship to financial and legal matters. When these factors are combined, the normal person can have difficulty in understanding what is actually happening and what is actually in play.

Therefore, beware of the complex and embrace the simple. Simple is still a good thing. More people can comprehend and understand a simple solution or idea. Then people can execute the plan and get good results. Everything you do needs to include simplicity rather than complexity if you want to be more effective.

One of the advantages we provide our clients is the ability to simplify issues or problems they are experiencing. If you feel that a problem or issue is too complex for you, call us. 901-757-4434 is our phone number and we will look forward to helping you.

Action is the Only Strategy during Economic Downcycles

I have recently been talking to CEO’s and Key Corporate Officers about the current economic conditions and how their results are during this time. After listening to all the different opinions one thing jumped out for me. The more successful companies and individuals were the ones that were taking focused and clear action. The ones who really in bad shape were taking the “Field of Dreams” approach – wishing and hoping that someone will come and buy what they offer!

Okay, so taking action should be a no-brainer for everyone in business. Well, it is not so according to the number of people that I meet and talk with on a daily basis. This is why I am writing about this subject today. Get out and touch someone – now!

There are several reasons for taking action. First, it keeps you focused and on target for getting results. Results are still the name of the game and if you are doing things that have no value added results – why do them?

Second, by staying in close contact with customers you can learn about opportunities that are coming up and work for positive results. I still believe that 70% of sales are made because you are top of the mind with the customer. The old saying – “out of sight is out of mind!” is more true today than ever before. Get out and visit or call – show interest in your customers and prospects.

Third, taking action today sets up the future for you – when the economy comes back and budgets are again opened up. Preparation is about taking focused action to develop the relationships even when things are not so great. People who make the big decisions are impressed by the people that care about them – in good and bad times. This action separates you from the “glad handers” who only show up to make a sale – when times are good.

Finally and most importantly, by taking action you feel good about YOU. Nothing works better for building personal esteem than accomplishment – getting results and doing positive things. Taking action is the number one catalyst for improving how you feel. When your attitude is positive, you attract additional opportunities into your life. Thus, the opportunity to succeed when others are flat or declining.

Remember another old saying – “When the going gets tough, the Tough get going!” Well, this one saying summarizes all that has been written in this post. We are in tough times and our responsibility to others, family and yourself is to take positive, focused action for results.

Connecting the Dots between Economic Crisis and Cash Flow

Reflecting on my experiences with economic downturns like we are having today… In reality it is quite simple, cash flow has slowed down and there is currently no substitute source for cash. Thus, we have an economic recession. In fact, during the mid-80’s Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and some border states had their own severe recession. Back then it was called the oil and gas driven downturn. Only these areas were affected, thus the national economy and the media did not report this on a national level.

Okay, here were the lessons learned during this time period. First, it started in one industry – the oil and gas industry. Many people felt that since they were not directly tied to the oil and gas industry that they would not be affected. Wrong! Here are the cash flow issues: people were laid off; the supplier industries were impacted due to lack of sales and they started going under or laying off employees; the Mortgage industry started noticing higher default rates, decreasing home values and loses; the FDIC and FSLIC started closing S & L’s and Banks due to bad retail, commercial and mortgage loans; retail sales dropped – closing stores and creating vacancies in shopping centers; office building speculators found themselves with empty towers and foreclosures rose; and people stopped buying things in all categories – some had lost their jobs, some had lost oil and gas revenue checks, and the “beat goes on… Does this all sound familiar?

We are seeing the same situations that occurred during the mid 1980 in a limited geographic area – but now it is global in nature. This is a difficult situation because the system of cash flow has to restart and grow to “normal” levels. What we call normal, however, is the big question. Does “normal” include speculation, free or low cost loans, senseless refinancing for short term gratification, unnatural home value increases, or hyper anything for short term gains?

What needs to occur is for people to understand that the lottery ticket mindset is not normal. Normal is earning a fair return for a fair day’s work. Greed is not acceptable and systems need to be reset for progress to happen everyday. I learned all this the hard way. The key point is that I learned how to earn back my self-esteem and start growing everyday and passing on the “get rich quick” mentality that seemed to be everywhere.

For the system to work, national and community leaders need to focus on how to get business jump started and operating at efficient levels, train employees for higher level work, and get cash flowing again based upon the commerce system. The lottery winner is only one person – what we need is for large groups of people to win while providing value for themselves and their organizations or communities.

If we don’t focus upon the right things, we will all lose and lose big. All industries will suffer to survive and people will be hurting – financially and mentally. If we all start adding value and losing the non-value added activities, we will all win in the long run. Yet, remember this, economic issues will rise and fall, our job is to focus upon ways we can grow personally, add value to the world, and earn our fair share during the process.