“Intelligence at work”
Our business literally froze when the recession began four years ago, so I’ve learned a lot about persistence. The experience reminds me of that saying by Winston Churchill, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
My company creates training solutions specific to individual business needs, so it’s sometimes difficult to show the financial return on investment from these efforts. Plus, custom training budgets tend to be “soft budget” dollars and are usually the first to be cut, especially during tight financial times. What it meant for us was a decline in revenues.
One of the first things I had to do was cut back my expenses without affecting my core business or product quality. I met with my staff and we determined the best way to stay in business was to temporarily cut salaries until the economy improved.
We could reach new markets and enhance our offerings to both current and potential clients. This led us to invest heavily in the development of our learning management system (Percolate LMS™) and to update our company website. We soon found these efforts rewarded. For example, adding the Percolate LMS to our offerings allowed us the opportunity to create custom training programs and provide a simple system to track them. Secondly, our new website gave us greater visibility by winning awards and providing free resource documents to prospective clients.
Another important move for us was to change our marketing strategies. We decided the best way to help grow the company was through networking efforts of the executive team, rather than through a sales force. Our executive team was more familiar with the training processes and this made them more effective at acquiring new business. Ultimately, we focused on current clients and received new or repeat business through word of mouth and networking.
My team’s commitment and involvement with the company were critical to its survival and growth. Since this company began, I have done my very best to not only hire talented people, but to support them in a way that allows them to do what they do best. As a team, we are cooperative, collaborative and supportive. This is a critical part of how we do business with our clients and with internal projects that support our company’s growth.
My advice to other businesses? Make sure employees are included in all important company decisions and solutions. When everyone is involved, I have found you open the doors to greater innovation and possibilities for success.