Tough Economic Times

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Tough Economic Times

To my employees after I made a presentation on a tough economy.

“I made a point last night that this year was going to be tough.  Clearly anyone listening to the news of any sort can not come to any other conclusion.  Google, Apple, Honeywell, the banks, the auto industry, etc., etc. are all laying off large numbers of people.  Locally one of our clients is 1/2 the size it was,  another is down, a third is at least somewhat challenged as evidenced by forced vacation.  It would be silly and self defeating to put our head in the sand and not recognize that this is happening.

That said some of the best times I have had personally and in business have been in tough times.  Tough times bring out the best in good people and we are a bunch of good people.  We are going into this year with 2.5 months of working capital including our line of credit.  Marketing is getting our name out there and Mike is beginning to knock ‘em down.  Although SAC Ear, Nose and Throat did not take services immediately Mike has established a relationship into the account.  I am confident that as Mike keeps working that relationship we have a good chance of getting some labor dollars.  Sacramento Coca Cola is looking for more and more work.   Even our client who is half the size is still asking for our help regularly.  The application we just finished is likely to serve a business 1/2 the size of their largest year but they need us more than ever for the efficiency and solid information we can give them with a proper program.  One of our financial management clients get’s much of their income from a percentage of managed investment accounts, we know that investment accounts are down so their income must be down but they increased their plan level with us to Platinum.

Customer service is going to be key to our success.  It always is but it’s even more important during bad times.  Customer Service means many things, it means professionalism, looking and acting sharp.  It means performing for clients quickly, happily and with enthusiasm.  It means always keeping an eye on the value AS THE CLIENT sees it, of every dollar they pay.  If you don’t know the value they see then ask, clients are happy to tell you.  They are much more happy than if they are surprised.  This value needs to be reinforced at the start by making sure they understand how much something will cost, executing on the expectations you have set and bringing up immediately when you can’t meet those expectations due to discoveries you make on the way.  There is nothing wrong with not knowing everything about everything or all about what you might discover in a diagnosis, just don’t try hiding it, that rarely works.  When you are done with a job the followup enforces the value as well.  What you were asked to do and what you did in an email, work order and/or on the time record must be written to show the value of what you’ve done.

Work with each other, when someone get’s a great review ask them what they did and make it your own.  The next time you’ll be the one who get’s the great recommendation and they will be coming to you.

We have a great opportunity in 2009.  Being a tough economy is part of that great opportunity.  The more we “up our game” the more success we will have.

I look forward eagerly to how each of you will use your creativity and excellence to “up your game” and how that will work together to up all our games.”

Bill Pennock

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