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February 20, 2013

Let it Snow

snowfall-16319_640As I sit here watching the snow fall I can’t help but think about one of my favorite strategies… “plan for the worst.”  Yes, the weather is terrible right now. Ice. Snow. Blowing winds.

Oh right…it is winter!

Trying to get across the country, or even across town, during winter is an issue. But, that’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about change.  It happens. One day you look around and everything seems to be working. You have a stable workforce. You have great long-term clients. Cash flow is no longer keeping you up at night. You are enjoying your business and all the hard work seems to be paying off.

STOP.  Now is the time to really think about scenarios for disaster.  No matter how good you are at running your business, developing new products and services, or navigating the changing business climate you should plan for the worst.

In the case of my business, the first wave of “the worst” was the camcorder. That was followed by flip cameras and a host of other consumer electronic products.  Do I need to belabor the point?  I started to see signs this trend toward “do-it-yourself-video” would trickle down. One of the things you have to do when planning for the worst is move fast.  Many business owners take a wait-and-see approach, thinking the worst will blow over. I do just the opposite.

To combat what could have been a shrinking line of business I first invested in more technology that would set us apart from the types of things “dabblers” could create. We invested in training for our video editors so they could do “really cool stuff.”  We also began to look carefully at the make-up of our customer base. We started to concentrate on attracting a more complex customer-one that had greater needs. This type of customer does not want to be a “do-it-yourselfer.” They want to concentrate on their core business.

As a result of embracing change and planning for the worst we have attracted new clients and managed through one of the worst downturns I have ever seen.  And, we are on solid ground. Now if I could just do something about the weather.


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