History doesn’t repeat but sometimes it rhymes....
- Mark Twain
I’ve worked and sold through:
- The dot-com crash
- The Y2K/Millennium bug
- The Great Recession of 2008
All of them were different. All of them had different causes and played with the market in different, if not especially attractive, ways.
All of them had common themes. All of them had similarities.
This market uncertainty is, and in history’s mirror will be, the same. It wasn’t caused by a tech bubble, an imaginary code error, a terrorist’s plane or a poorly conceived financial derivative.
No, this time it was a pandemic. This time an illness flipped the world markets upside down and erased the hard work and investments of millions. But mark my words, new business leaders are being born in our midst now just as they were in 2000, 2001, and 2008. This is no different.
The question is, will you be one of them?
To become one of these leaders, here are some of the lessons you can apply to your business from prior market corrections, recessions, and collapses.
Recessions are mosaics, not tapestries.
There will be a temptation to succumb to the popular delusion that there are no opportunities for success. That the market is in stasis and that any business development is a waste of time.
Don’t buy it! It is a LIE and you shouldn’t believe everything you hear. In any disruption there are opportunities.
To discover these opportunities, ask yourself the following questions:
- What industries are standing out?
- How can your firm support them?
- How can you make a difference?
The Technology Services sector is a leading market indicator, not a trailing one.
The definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of falling growth. Folks, that is a trailing indicator. Think of it as a rear view mirror. We can only know we are in a recession when we’ve BEEN in a recession.
The technology services industry, especially the staffing and staff augmentation sector, is very much a leading indicator. When a business starts to feel secure enough to push out tendrils of growth, it will almost never start the climb back by hiring permanent staff. It will reach out to technology staffing firms, outsourcers, and consulting firms for the first push back into growth. So, keep a sharp eye out for upticks in areas. We are likely to see the changes before the pundits and talking heads in the WSJ, Barrons, and Forbes.
Don’t wait for answers, find them! Ask yourself:
- Are your clients starting to ask you about market conditions for certain skill sets?
- Do you see any industries asking the same questions?
- Are you starting to see increased activity with your candidates?
The only way out is through!
Conventional wisdom will have you slashing your marketing activities, cutting your sales staff, furloughing recruiters and waiting for the bright light at the end of the tunnel to appear.
Many people wait too long for that bright light and it finally appears as an oncoming train.
Don’t fall for it—don’t fall for waiting. The answer is to lead. The answer is to take responsibility for your teams and shepherd the best interests of the clients you have earned the business of and keep moving forward. And while this crisis won’t be the same as the others I’ve lived through, it WILL have similarities and we’ll get through it the same way that I, and many of the veterans reading this, did.
Let’s follow a time-tested path by doing the following:
Talk to your clients. Ask them intelligent questions that keep them moving forward.
Focus your marketing on the areas where there is still life, areas that are still growing.
- Which of your clients are still active? Find their twins and market to them!
Increase your sales outreach with targeted messaging to let your market know that you’re still there. You’re still fighting. You’re still serving.
Focus your recruiters on identifying candidates who are now available and develop relationships so you can help them when you have an opening.
By learning and following the lessons from the past, your business can come out of the pandemic successfully and guide you to a stronger tomorrow.
I started this post with a quote from Mark Twain. Let me end it with two from Winston Churchill…
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
If you are going through hell, keep going.