Let’s give this recession a new name

If Las Vegas had been taking bets on how long this recession would last, any bet would have been a bad bet. We all knew we were in it long before economists made it official. In the spring economists announced that the recession was over. Huh? Well, if the recession is over, then we really need to give this “thing” we’re in a new name.

Personally, I think “Fred” has a nice ring to it. Like an unwanted houseguest, Fred showed up, moved in, and now we can’t figure out how to get him out. Yup, let’s just rename the recession “Fred.” (I bet I could make Fred into an action figure that says stupid things, such as, “It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.” This could be huge. I could make millions off of Fred. Wanna invest?) Clearly, our buddy Fred has settled into your favorite chair, is drinking your beer and working his way through your vintage wine collection. The burning question we all keep asking is, “When and how do we get Fred to leave?”

One thing for sure, Fred’s overstayed welcome has created some new realities for business leaders:

  • Too many leaks can stall or sink your business: Leaks are everything from problem employees, cost overruns, client-retention challenges, broken or missing systems, accountability issues and more. They’re those compromises that you ignore at first, but eventually grow into major gaping holes below your company’s waterline. You must tackle problems early or they will definitely get out of hand.
  • Adding debt is not a solution: You cannot finance your way through or out of this recession. Even though traditional financing sources through lending institutions have become next to impossible to obtain, entrepreneurs still seem to find ways to add debt. More than anything, piling on credit card debt can and will throw you into the fiery pits of financial hell. Trying to gain ground while dragging debt from paying off yesterday’s expenses will make any progress difficult at best. Stop spending.
  • The recovery will not be a return to what was: Yes, we are in the throes of a major economic reset. When the economy waves goodbye to Fred, business behaviors, thinking and practices will be different. Both consumers and businesses will make buying decisions more cautiously than ever before.
  • Price will challenge traditional customer loyalties: Everyone is looking for a better deal – that means you, your team and every aspect of your business will fight harder for customer loyalty. Leaders must totally overhaul their “value-added” strategies to prevent “price predators” from stealing market share. Once your strategy shifts to competing on price, it’s hard to escape from it.
  • If it feels as though you’re working harder than ever, you’re right: Not only has Fred taught us to do more with less – he taught us that deals take more work to close, attracting new customers takes more energy and creativity, and that there are never enough hours in the day to get all the work done. Until further notice, working smarter and harder is the rule.
  • Your business model needs to adapt at a faster pace: The moment you think you have your business model just right – start questioning it and exploring what needs to change. At no other time in my 40 years as a business leader have I seen business models go obsolete so fast. I’d rather be on the offensive and keep my business model ahead of the curve than play defense and catch up. If you and your company are resistant to change today, your business model is already behind the curve.

Fred will eventually move on. What he’ll leave behind is a new set of strict no-compromise rules and disciplines for business success. Learn them well – and learn them fast.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click above to comment.

Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO of Strategies and author of No-Compromise Leadership

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


1 Response to “Let’s give this recession a new name”

  1. 1 Robin Shanks
    December 20, 2010 at 11:30 am

    There’s truth in what you write, Neil, though so many well-meaning managers will (still) ignore the need to recognize that they have an ability to motivate Fred to take his leave. Namely, leading their workgroups/enterprises/institutions in a way that demotivates Fred to not hang around. Status Quo is a comfrotable place to be…right up to the point it’s not!

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom and wit. Best wishes for a joyous holiday season. -R

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