By Hank Moore, Corporate Strategist™
The economy and business climate are now on the dirty side of the recession. Recognizing the damages done will result in healthier run companies for the future.
This is comparable to what is called the dirty side of a storm, hurricane, or other weather-created disaster. During those clean-up periods, the infrastructure rebuilds and optimistically moves forward by correcting certain damages done by the storms.
Signs are that our economy has somewhat recovered from the second worst recession in history. Many companies kept their heads in the sand during the economic downturn, fully intending to return to business as usual.
What happened in the recession was that many businesses went under. In my professional opinion, 25% of those that faded away probably should have. A great many frail companies were not on firm foundations and had abdicated their abilities to improve and serve customer bases.
As fallout from the recession, many people were thrown into the workforce. Many fell into jobs for which they were not suited. Many downsized and out-of-work people were forced to reinvent themselves.
Many became consultants of one sort or another. Many fell victim to frauds and scams. Services and websites sprung up to capitalize upon the avalanche of new entrepreneurs. Some sites offered the platform to become a consultant with a national firm by paying them subscription fees. The already inflated world of “reputation management” websites lured people into buying advertising in order to create the facade of being a consultant.
Distinctions must be drawn into three consulting categories and percentages of their occurrence in the marketplace:
- Vendors selling products which were produced by others. Those who sell their own produced works are designated as subcontractors. (82.99%)
- Consultants conducting programs designed by their companies, in repetitive motion. Their work is off-the-shelf, conforms to an established mode of operation, contains original thought, and draws precedents from experience. (17%)
- High level strategists creating all knowledge in their consulting. It is original, customized to the client, and contains creativity and insight not available elsewhere. (.01%)
As one who distinguishes past vendors and subcontractors, there are six types within the 18% which constitute consultants with their percentages in the marketplace:
- Those that still lead in an industry and have specific niche expertise. (13.5%)
- Those that were downsized, out-placed, or decided not to stay in the corporate fold and evolved into consulting. (28%)
- Out of work people who hang out consulting shingles in between jobs. (32%)
- Freelancers and moonlighters whose consultancy may or may not relate to their day jobs. (16%)
- Veteran consultants who were trained for and have a track record in actual consulting. That’s what they have done for most of their careers. (2%)
- Sadly, there is another category – opportunists who masquerade as consultants, entrepreneurs who disguise their selling as consulting, and people who routinely change niches as the dollars go. (8.5%)
Clients are confused and undereducated, not able to discern the “real deal” consultants from the hype. Enlightened clients hire real consultants and get great value, as opposed to companies who fall prey to under-prepared resources.
There are five generations in workforce; more than any time in our history. Each generation has different working styles and must be considered according to their attributes. Age discrimination for workers over 40 is rampant and cruel.
Workplace illiteracy is higher than ever before. 50% of employees in the business world are considered functionally illiterate.
Society must not be lulled into a false sense of security right now. The recovery phase of the recession has been steady and real. Much of the damage was done and will take years to fix. This could cause the next recession.
I believe that small business is resilient and will try its best to stay on firm ground. Wise entrepreneurs will bring in qualified mentors, as opposed to “wanna-be” consultants. Cool heads will prevail; small business will recover and prosper.
Small business has learned many lessons from the recession. While some will still fight change and adhere to the same processes that got them into trouble, I see great opportunities for forward-focused businesses.
Paying attention to quality can realize:
- Lower operating costs. Research shows they can be cut in half.
- Premium pricing for preferred goods/services.
- Customer retention.
- Enhanced reputation.
- Access to global markets.
- Faster innovation.
- Higher sales.
- Higher return on investments.
The biggest source of growth and increased opportunities in today’s business climate relies on the way that individuals and companies work together.
It is becoming increasingly rare to find an individual or organization that has not yet been required to team with others. Lone Rangers and sole-source providers simply cannot succeed in competitive environments and global economies. Those who benefit from collaborations rather than become the victim of them will log the biggest successes in business years ahead.
Just as empowerment, team building, and other processes apply to formal organizational structures, independents teaming together can likewise benefit from the concepts. There are rules of protocol that support and protect partnerships and have a direct relationship on those who profit most.
Professionals who succeed the most are the products of mentoring. The mentor is a resource for business trends, societal issues, and opportunities. The mentor becomes a role model, offering insights about their own life-career. This reflection shows the mentee levels of thinking and perception which were not previously available. The mentor is an advocate for progress and change. Such work empowers the mentee to hear, accept, believe, and get results. The sharing of trust and ideas leads to developing business philosophies.
Hank Moore has advised over 5,000 client organizations including public sector agencies, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and 100 of the Fortune 500. Contact Hank by phone at 713-668-0664, by email at [email protected], or visit his website at www.hankmoore.com.