Tom Peters, the management guru who wrote Thriving on Chaos, knows how to run a business in times of economic disarray. (Thriving on Chaos debuted on Black Monday in 1987.)
He was recently quoted in Inc. Magazine:
“Instant, mindless cutting of R&D or training or sales force travel in the face of a downturn is often counterproductive – or, rather, downright stupid. Tough times are in fact golden opportunities to get the drop, and the long-term drop at that, on those who respond to bad news by panicky across-the-board slash and burn tactics and moves that de-motivate and alienate the workforce at exactly the wrong moment.”
Now is the time to focus on R&D and training. New product design and development is a crucial factor to the survival of a company, and companies that are cutting back on these areas may not even make it to the upturn.
Peters’ statement really hits home with us, as well.
One of our clients, the manufacturer’s buying group Prime Advantage, has recently published results of its Group CFO Survey and its Group Outlook Survey. Among the interesting findings in each survey was the fact that midsized industrial manufacturers are continuing to invest in the future through R&D. (Are there many markets that have been hit harder than U.S. industrial manufacturing?) Yet, these companies that are forced to be conservative in the way they operate continue to prepare for the hopeful future:
“87 percent of survey respondents (of the 2009 Group Outlook Survey) will be introducing new products in 2009, while 70 percent have plans to introduce new products in 2010. This echoes findings from Prime Advantage’s Group CFO Survey published in January, as 31 percent of CFO respondents reported an increase of new product development budgets from 2008 levels with 17 percent of respondents predicting development of new products or services to meet new customer needs.”
At PWMG, we see the silver lining in the current economic crisis, and have used this opportunity to re-brand ourselves; to develop a new logo, website and refresh our positioning. And we’ll be ready for the upturn, for sure. By opening themselves to new opportunities and ideas, companies will be more likely to break out of the routines that can easily turn into ruts, and in the process, they will be among the winners that also gladly seek out fresh ideas from hungry and savvy marketing consultants like us.