Posted on : 15-02-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Living in Philadelphia, Politics
Recently the economy has hit home for me. Many of my friends lost their job at my former employer, Advanta Bank. The company due to a variety of factors impacting the credit market is downsizing from about 700 people to around 400. When I was there it was about over 1000. I am really sad because it was a great place to work, mainly due to the people. There was a rare atmosphere where most people in the company were actually friends.
As I have thought about the current environment and all those that have lost their jobs I have wondered how many companies and individuals have thought more short sighted, whether it be through layoffs or cuts in expenditures to meet lower expectations for the market. Is the right move trying to make the number today or for years to come?
For Valentine’s day I decided to make a special dinner, including crab cakes from a little place we have grown to love. the Tabora Farm and Orchard Country Store. This little place has all kind of goodies, including great baked goods and a nice selection of fresh foods. So what can this little store teach us about doing it right in an economic environment like this one? Well this store has been around since 1990. It is very cramped and in need of a little clean up (although I love it the way it is). I am sure the company, just like all businesses is hurting right now, but walking in there was no sign of that. Actually there was a sign, one that caught my eye. It talked about how they are going to be closed on Tuesdays for the next month or so as they renovate the place. Wow, they are actually not pulling back, but investing for the future. That is the way it should be done! I am sure this is not their busy time so it will not impact their Customers too much but as things rebound they will be so ready.
How many businesses are busy closing locations or downsizing due to the current environment? Now I agree closing poor performing locations, especially when in the past there was over expansion (think Starbucks), that does make sense to do that. At the same time how many retailers are pulling back on planned renovations. Wouldn’t now be the perfect time, especially as there is less foot traffic? Now is a great time to redefine your business. Layoffs may still be inevitable in some areas, but maybe it is time to rejuvenate other areas of the business. Maybe look for some of the best minds that can add immediate value to your long term planning. Instead of cutting Customer Service, revamp it and create the best experience. As the economy improves your Customers will remember being treated right. Are the tools your company uses outdated? Work to improve them and use added resources to further train your employees. This may not help companies make the number for the current quarters, but it will add to the profit margins for a long time to come. It will also assist the overall economy in expanding therefore making prospects for future growth even sooner.
We can be our own stimulus package, just in the way we approach these tough times.