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CD 1045 - 52pp Text 21/8/08 13:20 Page 19
best people. Only choose people who Of course it’s not just about what’s going
you know will survive the changes. Share on inside the business. You’ll need to
with them your vision for what the manage your reputation in the market.
business needs to look like to survive the News that you’re having to let people go
new economic reality, and agree with soon gets round. Use every opportunity
them an action plan and a timescale to to communicate positives about your
make the necessary changes. Remind business, on your website, and in trade
them that failure to deliver the changes magazines, to ensure that your brand
on time may well result in the failure of reputation is not unduly damaged.
the business.
Once your business is on more solid
If it’s just you dealing with the situation, ground, with profits and positive cashflow
act quickly and decisively to re-shape the restored, look for opportunities that the
business to a profit. new reality offers. Your slower-to-react
When things start to go wrong, many
competitors may well be for sale at
members of staff, especially those who
knock-down prices.
have enjoyed the ride in the good times, And even when things are going well
just become paralysed by the uncertainty again, run your business as though it’s
of the future. They often think failure is still
inevitable, which in turn makes failure
You may also find that some staff just dig in crisis. Keep a tight rein on expensive
more likely. You have to recognise this
their heels in, hoping things will stay as pet projects, listen to your instinct on
quickly, and work to persuade them that
they were, because that looks less
costs, insist on good financial
there is hope. As the leader of the
daunting than having to accept change.
information, keep on top of the cashflow,
situation, you have to work extra hard to
bring your remaining people along with
Your job is to persuade them that things
keep debt to a minimum, and put away
you, until they start to believe in you and
must change, to enable the business to
some personal money for a rainy day, so
the business again. Keep talking to them.
survive. They may well resist your
you’re in a better place next time the
economy dips.
Let them see the determination in your
changes; so you have to tell them, their
eyes. Nothing arouses suspicion more
choice is to change with the business, or
Tim Gilbert spends most of
than a closed door to the boss’ office. to go. his time at
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