Thursday, 26 June 2008

The Secret to Success During a Credit Crunch


Customer centric business development is the secret to being a highly successful company during a credit crunch, according to eleven companies from the South West. You also need to make exceptionally efficient use of resources, inspire your team and create a positive environment. These were the conclusions from a creative problem solving seminar looking at the issue of leading a company through these difficult times, hosted by Paul Maisey of Buffin Leadership International.

Top Tips include

Customer Centric Business Development

- Focus on providing great service to customers and adapt to their current needs
- Consider offering something different to the competition ( complementary products and services )
- Let your customers do your marketing for you ( word of mouth ) so don’t be shy about coming forward
- Look for new ideas each day ( what would make you more competitive ? what ideas could you glean from other industries ? what marketing would be free ?)

Exceptionally Efficient use of resources

- Be on top of your company numbers especially cash flow!
- Scrutinise the benefit of every penny spent and haggle for everything
- Look at cash raising ideas ( capital locked-up in assets , government funding )
- Be realistic about what’s possible in both short and long term

Inspire Your Team

- Increase the two way communication with your team. Be clear on what you want to achieve and listen to their suggestions.
- Re visit your initial vision and values, could you achieve them in a new way?
- Involve your team in “thinking outside the box” and in implementing changes to meet customer needs
- Be highly visible and look after your team ( recruitment is still an issue and is expensive )

Create a positive environment

- Be passionate about what you do and make activities fun
- Do yourself what you want others to follow ( visualise successful behaviours )
- Keep focus and energy levels high , celebrate each “ small “ success
- Be positive and motivated ( read inspirational books to keep you going ! )

From each of the sixteen top tips above each leader and each company will use them in the way most appropriate to their circumstances and industries. The overall themes though are generic to all (and true at any point in the economic cycle). Whether you are the conductor of an orchestra , captain of a ship, or chief executive of a footsie 100 focus on your customers , use your resources well, work with your team and create a positive environment !!
Paul Maisey is the Regional Director in the South West for Buffin Leadership International. Further information is available at

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Effective Leadership During A Credit Crunch


It is clear that the UK has entered a period of difficult economic times for both consumers and companies. Cash is less accessible, house prices are falling, 57 % of consumers have trimmed their spending (Mintel) and there has been a sharp drop in retail sales. How then do Leaders guide their companies and employees through these times?
In difficult trading conditions companies traditionally look to cut costs as a way of compensating for a projected/real fall in income. Leaders must be aware that there are, at least, three competing areas where needs must be satisfied to ensure a long team future – investors, customers and employees. When times are tough it is Leaders who must keep manage the uncertainty, keep people engaged and drive performance. How you treat your investors, customers and employees now will be remembered well into the future!

Effective Leadership during a credit crunch must involve
- Having a clear and compelling vision ( be focussed on results )
- Being pro-active ( generate energy and enthusiasm )
- Being open and honest ( communicate incessantly )
- Teamwork and trust ( pull together not in different directions )
- Creativity and Innovation ( if customers are focussed on value how do you change your product/strategy )
- Staying true to your values ( or you will permanently lose investors, customers and employees )
- Adopting an AND mindset ( not solely either/or options )
- Communication Mastery ( listen to your people and respond to their concerns in an impactful way )
Leadership is hard work. It is arguably even tougher during difficult times AND it is needed even more!