Dealing with Downsizing

We are bombarded by bad news regarding the economy.  People are using the “R” and even the “D” word.  If you listen to the news a lot, it could be just plain depressing.  It’s critical to keep your wits about you and not succumb to all the bad news.

Here are the three biggest areas where downsizing is occurring: people, budgets and even customers.

1.  Downsized staff

You may be working for a firm that has reduced its staff in order to stay competitive. If that’s the case, you might have mixed feelings about still having your job.  While you’re grateful you have a steady salary, you might be dealing with feelings of guilt because someone you care about lost their job.  You might even feel some resentment for the increase in your workload.

2.  Downsized budgets

Companies and individuals are being more cautious with their financial resources.  More scrutiny is being applied to the way money is spent and invested.  Budgets are being slashed.  You may find yourself having to deal with more budget constraints than ever before.

3.  Downsized customers

Some unfortunate customers might be out of the market altogether.  If they’re lucky, wise or well financed, they’re still in business.  It’s likely though that their budgets are constrained.  They are also being more judicious in their spending habits and you know what that means for you.  Perhaps you’re feeling that squeeze as well.

As I said at the beginning, it’s tempting to fall victim to to the doom and gloom, but that would be a mistake.  Let me share with you 3 specific things you can do to counteract the naysayers.

1. Dealing with downsized staff

If you’re the boss of a reduced group, one of the best things you can do is communicate with them.  Overcommunicate if possible.  Keep them informed of what’s happening with the business.  Get them involved in creating cost-saving ideas.  Show your appreciation to keep them motivated.

If you’re part of a downsized staff, stay focused on productive activities.  Give yourself permission to have mixed feeling about your situation.  However, avoid spending too much time with whiners.  They’ll just drag you down.  Make suggestions to your boss about how things could be done more efficiently.  Don’t forget to highlight the contributions you’re making to the team and the company – and quantify them if you can.

2. Dealing with downsized budgets

Resources are scarce now so make sure you’re deploying them wisely.  Set criteria for how you’ll decide when and how you’ll invest – or not.  If you’re having to lobby others for budget approval, make sure you can demonstrate a solid return on investment.  If you’re selling and attempting to get others to part with their money, make sure you talk about the value your product or service provides.   Forget features; talk about results your customers can expect.

3.  Dealing with downsized customers

Recognize that your customers are probably going through all of these same challenges.  There are fewer people in the market these days.  They’re laying low, conserving their cash.  Now more than ever, it’s critical that you understand what your customers need.  People and companies are still spending money.  Your challenge is to offer them something they really need to make their lives and businesses better.

When you implement these simple steps, you’ll be better positioned to weather this financial storm.  Keep in mind…this too shall pass.

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