Friday, December 5, 2008

How Can Companies take Advantage of an Economic Downturn

Could there possibly be any bright spots to the current economic downturn? In my opinion companies that have been fiscally responsible and have positioned their businesses to be in a solid cash position and to continue to post good results will emerge as next generation power houses within their industry. Of course, this will greatly depend on their ability to successfully navigate the the remainder of the recession while providing excellent customer service to their customers. Industries that have had multiple competitors prior to the "great" recession could eventually have just a handful or in some cases be the lone survivor and be well positioned to become an industry leader. Much will depend on businesses having a clear understanding of how their industries are changing specifically to accommodate the ever rapidly changing needs of their customers.

Companies define their industries very differently. While our business operates within the employment sector of the economy, we do not see all employment-related businesses as competitors. Even with our job board businesses, we do not view all job boards as our direct competition. In many cases job boards work collaboratively and can help each other by working together to provide a better experience for the end user. I am of the opinion that the more niche a business becomes the better positioned that business will be to enjoy long-term success. This is especially true due to the fact that the more targeted the business, the closer the business will be to their customer. We have learned this lesson well with the expansion of our business into both the healthcare and trucking industries with our portals and

Many facets of our business have changed over the last twelve months. One such change has been the fast-growing number of online users that are building a large audience when combined with our national print recruitment magazines. Not all job seekers are online. Many job seekers, especially in the hourly sector, still rely on print products to find their next job. While there is no doubting that the online audience is growing quickly, the same could be said of print. Just as online audiences are growing, so are pick-up rates. If employers want to reach the entire job seeker market, they still need to use the total recruitment solution of print and online.

Post-recession recruitment is going to look much different than it does today. Smart businesses will take advantage of the surplus talent on the market today to position their business well for continued innovation and growth in the future. If you could replace the 25% poorest performing employees on your staff with employees that possess the same skill set as your top performing 25%, would you do it? Of course you would. In the past could you do it? Highly unlikely. This is not necessarily true today. There are very talented individuals in the market for a new opportunity today. Businesses/employers would be wise to take advantage of the opportunity to make this a reality. My advice is to not simply go into an across-the-board cost-cutting mode. My advice is to cut the excess where possible, add increased talent, position your best people against your biggest opportunities, and invest in growing your market share and number of customers as your competition is either hanging on for their life or is only focused on self-preservation.

What kind of moves are you making to position your business or yourself to emerge from the recession in a more successful market position or capacity?