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Charting the Recession Course: Plans, Goals, and Focuses for 2009

Posted on February 3, 2009 by Jeff

We’re months into this economic slowdown which is more accurately now being referred to as a recession. We all knew it was a recession well before any economist was willing to utter the word. Hope for a turnaround before finding ourselves in the midst of a depression has lead to several conversations over the past few weeks that start something like this, “What are you doing in 2009?”

There seems to be three primary interests in asking this question. The first is an attempt to identify the current health of your business. It doesn’t even matter if the individual you’re chatting with is in a remotely similar industry; people are simply looking for any positive sign. The second is to gleam some brilliant idea that they might take back to their company planning meeting. I know I’d love to put the zinger on the table that saves the day.  Finally, to identify a sympathetic ear willing to listen to their ideas for insuring livelihood through 2009, in other words, someone to bounce ideas off of.  No one wants to put the “zinger” on the table that once stated out load is the obvious flop.

So I’ll go first, here are Gordian Project’s 2009 Pillars:

  • Make the customer possible - Making a customer possible involves adding new product to our catalog via new or existing vendors and websites. Additionally, we make a customer possible by more deeply penetrating existing markets. Market penetration begins with our ability to fulfill orders for a given product within our catalog.
  • Capture the customer - Capturing a customer involves connecting a shopper with Gordian Project via all candidate channels, including paid and organic, using all available tools including price, promotions, navigation, etc.
  • Make the customer happy - Making customers happy involves building an efficient, intuitive, engaging, comfortable shopping, purchasing, and post order experience.
  • Make it worth it - Financial performance involves making our efforts in business worth it by creating goals and guidelines that promote growth, discipline, and efficiency. Ultimately “worth it” includes not settling for “viable” or even “on par” but rather outperforming alternative options.
  • Make it a lifestyle - Making Gordian Project a lifestyle involves supporting our more social and interpersonal needs. We strive for an exciting, challenging, innovative workplace that fosters motivated, engaged employees.

Peel off all the layers that develop over time and these 5 pillars define “who we are.” Over 120 potential initiatives were then prioritized in light of these pillars as initiatives to be addressed now, next, and later.

Rich Schmitt in his article “We can survive this economic turmoil” identifies the following focuses for 2009 (The Wholesaler January 2009 Vol.64, NO.1).

  • Right-size your organization
  • Watch the cash
  • Keep selling
  • Keep getting better at what you do
  • Spend more time on pricing

The following blogs also touch on this subject and have provided valuable insights:

So in my effort to find hope in the midst of the pending “economic doom” I would like to know how your business doing, what great ideas do you have, and what do you think of the above?


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