Posted tagged ‘newspaper’

The Real Risk in Risk Management

November 25, 2009

It’s not uncommon to find businesses all over this country talking about the impact the current economic environment is having on their operations.

Just yesterday, I was speaking with my good friend, John Fodera. John is a partner in Eisner, LLP’s audit and risk management services group. He spends his days discovering how to reduce risk and streamline operations, while making sure that his clients remain compliant with regulations a diverse as labor law to SEC requirements. Not surprisingly, he hears about the impact of the recession all of the time.

As our discussion progressed, it became apparent that John brings some fresh thinking to these conversations. One of the thoughts that we shared is that cutting staff is not always the best way to deal with a slowdown in business.

John explained that the “knee-jerk” reaction is always to reduce costs and sometimes this is truly appropriate. But, like any other challenge, there are always opportunities.

When companies are concerned about business, they are more apt to rethink the way that they approach the marketplace. Leadership will also find that staff will be more open to trying new approaches. This is typical when the risk of remaining with the status quo exceeds the risk of trying new things.

Reaching out to existing customers and discovering and sometimes re-discovering what is valued in one’s offerings – and what isn’t – can change what is being sold and how it is being presented to other potential clients.

When something is not valued, often, the cost associated with adding and delivering that capability can be stripped out. Suddenly, the product may actually be more valuable because a level of complexity is removed and the cost associated with developing, selling, delivering it and training others has been reduced. Out of such discussions, many competitive advantages and opportunities are born.

And in an age where technology is changing as rapidly as it is, an economic downturn can provide the impetus to create new ways to produce meaningful value.

As John would probably tell you, the real risk is when you are not rethinking your business.  But don’t take his word for it.

Just ask the people running the newspaper industry and the postal service.

Growing Locally to Grow Your Business

January 11, 2009

For much of the last decade, we’ve heard about the importance of the global economy. The mantra you may have been reading is something like “grow global or you won’t grow at all.”

The Internet has certainly made that approach more viable but there is an equally meaningful perspective that warrants your consideration.

Seth Godin champions this point-of-view. He’s a best-selling author of about a dozen books on marketing or blogging and he is an original thinker. I subscribe to his blog and I do so because his thinking inspires me or it reinforces or extends my own thinking.

You likely will have noticed that my sales related posts are about becoming more related with your own customers. Seminars and referral meetings are really – at its core – about becoming more related to your own relationships. This is because for many small businesses, going global isn’t an option. They need to be effective in their own zip code.

Today’s blog from Godin presented a new twist on the art of becoming related locally. He suggests that you start your own local “newspaper.”

The way he’d go about it is to briefly interview a local business, a local student or a local political activist by phone. Get 20 households to ‘subscribe’ by giving you their email address and asking for a free subscription. You can use direct contact or flyers or speeches to get your list and then release the newspaper via e-mail twice a week. In no time at all, you’d build a mailing list and if you do it well, in not time, it would be the talk of the town.

More important, for you and your business, you will become related on a very local and personal level. You will know about people and the value they contribute to the community. You will become a source for connecting others. Most important, you will be transformed into a valuable resource associated as the source for learning about all of the wonderful things going on in your own backyard and in your community.

And that sounds like a fantastic position for you to be in and a source of strength for any local business.


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