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Key issues facing businesses / business leaders – Guest Blog – Richard Booth

Richard Booth

1st issue is the economy. This has an effect throughout every part of the company. No wage rises. Spending controls.  Extra layers of reports. Increased work time and expected increased results.

Will our customers still be in business next week? Many big names and also many old names are disappearing from the market. The question is: were they going anyway as they stagnated?

Will the bank lend us money or support us? The money isn’t getting to business. That is the belief. Is it reality?

Will the customers pay? Payment terms are more controlled than ever before.How can I respond/ be one step ahead?

This is an unprecedented time. Yet, there are two types of businesses and business leaders. There are followers and there are leaders.

Followers follow the market and respond to what is happening around them. They are re active to the situation, making decisions after the fact

Market leaders are ahead of the market. They have to be a part of the market but it doesn’t lead them. The market is just another factor in what makes a business strategy successful or not. A good business leader plans for the future, lives in the present and learns from the past. An effective leader makes decisions which are outside of the box and which others have not tried yet. He/she is prepared to take calculated risks in order to gain from the benefits and rewards that follow. And if the plan does not work they change it. And they are prepared to scrap everything that made them successful if it doesn’t work anymore.

A key issue in companies is how to relate to their employees. At the beginning of the downturn I believed that companies would recognise that their employees are what keep them going as long as they are given the right path to follow by those above them. Mistreat them now and they will leave when the market improves. So we have to keep our whole organisation on board to the concept that we are all working together to a greater cause, the pain is shared by all and the rewards will be reaped at the other end when the market is better again.

Another key issue is morality and ethics. In a hard market there are two choices, to follow ones principles or two do “what it takes” to survive. An ethical company has longevity and happier workers. An unethical company makes short term gains but in the long run always loses.

So, action not reaction is the key to survival. It doesn’t mean changing everything but it means re-evaluating what we are doing to see if it is still working or not. During strong business times it is very easy to carry on doing what works, but it is in times of change and hardship that we see the companies that did not evolve dying and those who dared to be different surviving. The key factor is that those companies must not get so big that they lose sight of this mindset that got them where they were. Possibly Face book could be a good example of that in a year or two.

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