Ten tips to ride the economic slowdown

October 24, 2008

After all the dire warnings given by various VCs, here is a more positive list of recommendations sent from one of my friendly VCs:

  1. Don’t panic! Economic cycles are part of life. Best companies are built in the worst of times. If you panic, your employees will panic.
  2. Conserve cash. Delay spending on non-critical things that do not result in revenue generation. Renegotiate vendor contracts, rental contracts, etc.
  3. Improve productivity. Get more out of your team.
  4. Differentiate between high and low performers. Reward the high performers. Counsel out low performers.
  5. Optimize the organization. Hire critical talent as they may be available at a reasonable cost. Transition or re-deploy non critical resources.
  6. Continue selling and marketing your product or service. Being in front of customers and vendors builds confidence that you are a long term player.
  7. Focus on growth with an eye on profitability. Since the cost of capital is high today, be cautious on how much capital you raise to invest for growth. Avoid over-investing in the business in the hope for exponential growth in the future.
  8. Communicate with your team internally. It Make sure your team understands that you are building a lasting and successful enterprise and that some of the cost cutting measures including layoffs are necessary for the health of the company. Anxiety levels can be high in tough times.
  9. Act swiftly. Try to deliver any bad or tough news at one shot to the company. Continious bad news can affect morale and instil fear.
  10. Have fun! Make sure your team is having fun. A happy environment builds loyalty and performance for the long term.
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