Spending time at the international meeting of our sister consultancies (www.proi.org) has given me the chance to catch up with colleagues, commiserate about the economy, and share insights about trends affecting our business.
The caliber of the firms in our global partnership is extraordinarily high, and the discussions have been both passionate and eye-opening. It also doesn’t hurt to be in Vienna, a city that’s almost magical in its beauty and evocation of history. (It tends to put things in perspective.)
A few takeaways from our discussions that might be relevant for anyone growing a business during a time of uncertainty:
- Ask yourself: What am I doing differently? Now is the time to take a risk. For us, that means on our own behalf as well as for our clients. Our partners are re-examining nearly every aspect of their businesses and in doing so, offering clients concepts and strategies that go beyond “traditional” PR thinking.
- Overcommunicate to staff. That’s easy when things are good, but harder to face in a bad environment when decisions are unpopular. If you take employees for granted because the job market is tough, they could be gone when things turn around.
- Think small….in the good sense of the word. Even in a large organization, an entrepreneurial spirit can be a powerful differentiator, and staff need to feel they have influence and mobility when so much is beyond our control.
- Find partners. As an independent business, my firm has relied on our North America and global partners both for business development and company management issues. Think about building a network for sharing ideas or even leads with like-minded business owners in complimentary business sectors. Yesterday’s competitor is today’s ally.
- Plan for the recovery. How do you want to be positioned when the recession ends? Smart businesses are planning now, and we need to do the same for our clients and our own companies.