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Many of my business coaching sessions of late have centered on a highly important topic: ‘Excelling In Tough Times.’ Whether you’re a small single op or the multi-op of three to 30, the times are changing rapidly in our personal and professional lives.
For the past few years, my clients have been faced with ‘entitlement’ issues of younger employees feeling entitled to high pay without putting in the effort to actually earn it and clients wanting deep discounts just because they ask.
As challenging as that has been, today’s economic climate adds to the complexity of keeping business coming in, getting employees/subcontractors to perform at their highest levels and convincing clients of the valuable services being provided are well worth what is being asked for in the form of payment.
Anyone can excel in the good times. Challenging times call for mastery in our lives and business, yet the overall rules of success haven’t changed. They are merely intensified. Below are approaches that are working for my clients and their team (“team” means anyone that is involved in the business and/or personal life) as well as the clients:
• Be the leader others want to follow: Demonstrate exactly what you want from others – creativity, enthusiasm, loyalty, good judgment. Be sure to provide enough instruction to complete the task(s) but don’t micro-manage. Allow your team to develop their own methods of delivering your desired outcome. It really doesn’t matter how you get the results that you want as long as it’s ethically and professionally completed. You don’t like being stifled and neither does any member of your team. And, be sure to give a specific deadline, otherwise, it won’t be done when you thought it should have been done. Come in early; stay late. Don’t worry, you won’t have to do this forever and you shouldn’t be doing it for very long. Know that they will emulate you, your attitude toward anything, and your actions on everything.
• Pay attention to the small things: Who on your team appears to be more worried or negative than normal; perhaps their work is slipping, or their commitment to perform at the highest level is diminishing. Show your awareness and concern before it’s too late. You’ll know it’s getting to be too late if you’re getting angry at them or they are ready to quit.
• Look for opportunities: Many companies prosper in tough economic times by being aware of their customer’s changing needs and then coming up with solutions. Solutions such as pricing changes, add-ons, or more personal contact don’t need to be permanent. Things change and people do expect them to change but don’t always like them to change. Wedding expenditures is an example. While good intentions can always grow to become great results, these days it requires more support in many areas since the cutbacks, layoffs, and economic fears create a fearful environment for everyone and the wedding clients are demanding more justification for their precious dollars. Don’t worry about what the other DJ company is doing to survive the current economy. Figure out what is good for you and your team and do it.
• Keep your eye on the future: The economic tides will turn and when they do, you want to be ahead of the game. What will your company look like a year from now? Clean house. What training programs can you update or initiate? What about updating policies and procedures, dress code, employee handbooks? Your competition is likely so worried about today that they’re not focused on tomorrow. However, you are much wiser than that.
• Answer the immediate issues, adjust, and prosper: During my days with the Marine Corp it was often yelled with enthusiasm “Oo-Rah, Semper FI” meaning “Oh yeah, always faithful”. You might keep that in mind to maintain your faith. But, since I was a Hospital Corpsman and a bit of a “buck the system and status quo guy”, (Medic of sorts for those that don’t know) we would always retort with “Oo-Rah, Semper Gumby” meaning “oh yeah, always flexible”. Stay flexible and observant and you’ll be able to adjust to the situations that arise and excel in these hard times while others are rigidly hanging on to the way they have been doing things. That may mean for some that they will make it through these hard times to stay in business while others fade away with the past.
Semper Fi – to all the Marine Corps buddies and Semper Gumby to all the Corpsmen
Think – Creatively
Act – Responsibly
Feel – Passionately
You can reach Ken Day at Ken Day owns Kenneth Day Weddings at:

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