Which recession are you in,
and how should that affect what you do about it?
by Donald Cooper, CSP
I’ve been working with four clients over the past few weeks
who all claim to be in a recession. And yet, in each case, their
“recession” is very different—and each requires a different set of
strategies and actions.
For client No. 1, in the
insulation business, their recession means they’ll have a sales increase
of only 10 percent this year as opposed to the 24 percent increases that
they’ve enjoyed each year since 2004. This is the kind of recession that
many companies would love to have.
For client No. 2, a
retailer, they’re expecting sales to be down about 5 percent this year,
followed by a rebound. This is the “slight blip” recession that requires
some intelligent belt-tightening—but not drastic restructuring.
Client No. 3, in
automotive parts, has already had a sales decline of 35 percent—and it
could get worse. Given the size of the sales decline and this company’s
dependence on the failing domestic auto industry, drastic measures and,
perhaps, a new business model are required.
Finally, for client No. 4,
in the mortgage-lending business in the United Kingdom, sales are off by
a whopping 75 percent. Unless this client has very deep pockets or gets
a government bailout, they will go into receivership or get bought out
by someone with a Swiss bank account.
So, saying that you’re in a recession is a bit like saying
that you’re a vegetarian. It can mean many different things. I have
“vegetarian” friends who are fine with seafood of any kind and chicken
every once in a while.
Then there are the ovo-lacto vegetarians, who will eat no
meat or seafood, but eggs, vegetables and dairy products are fine. Vegan
vegetarians are in the veggie-only camp, and then there are the
fruitopians, who won’t eat a carrot because it kills the carrot; they
eat fruit only because doing so doesn’t kill the tree.
So, when someone tells you that he or she is a vegetarian,
that doesn’t actually tell you much. And so it is with the “R” word.
Each of us is in a different “recession” requiring different, specific
and appropriate action.
So, are you like the retailer looking at a short-term 5
percent “blip,” or are you more like Waterford Wedgwood, the famous
crystal and fine china company founded in the 1700s, for whom this
downturn was simply “the straw that broke the camel’s back” and who went
into receivership in January?
Make sure that you know which “recession” you’re in and take
the appropriate action.
Donald Cooper, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), is an
internationally known business coach and speaker who works with
businesses on marketing, service and business excellence. He has helped
thousands of companies throughout the world redefine and reinvent their
businesses. For information on how Mr. Cooper can help your business
create, deliver and communicate value, visit
firstname.lastname@example.org or call