I must give my husband credit for the title of this blog, Simply Forward. But I am using it to make my plea to our corporate leaders, our government, small businesses, and individuals: Take a step forward...right now! Stop blaming the economy for standing still, and be the one to make a move so that the wheels will be set back in motion and the economy will recover. It will never do so if we’re all waiting for someone else to do something.
Hats off to Hewlett-Packard—they’re actually hiring! “You can’t cut your way to the future,” said Mateen Greenway, a fellow at HP Enterprise Services. “You have to cut your way to survival and then rebuild your organization as you come out of the recession.” HP is currently ranked 9 in Fortune’s 500, and may rank higher next year as they take proactive measures to increase their business by hiring salespeople, among other positions.
The phrase that has contributed most to the crippling of our economic recovery is “We’re waiting for the economy to recover.” It has become the catch-all excuse for not hiring, not manufacturing product, cutting jobs, depleting sales forces, and eliminating marketing activities. And the result has been this incessant waiting around for something or someone else to move forward.
I understand that initial shock to businesses has caused the immediate and drastic reaction of slashing costs in the form of payroll, cost of goods sold, etc. And yes, it was a wake-up call for many to reevaluate how they could maintain efficiency while being as lean as possible. But companies are still functioning in the fear mode. I know of a small business with a big client. They are struggling to keep up with the volume of production (they produce the lace for all of the intimate apparel for their client). They are petrified about what will happen to their business if they ever lost their client, and my question was “Why don’t they get another client?” And the answer is that they don’t want to hire the staff to accommodate another client or greater production because if something happens they will have to face layoffs. So instead of moving forward anticipating recovery and growth, they are stifling their own potential. Of course, they are not alone—which is why our country’s economy is standing still rather than recovering.
There is a custom wood products company in the northeast that has suffered like all others in the building industry; but instead of playing the waiting game, they have been proactive in adding a new services division. This will not only help them increase revenue without having to invest in capital equipment or cost of goods, but it will also help them provide enhanced customer service and increase their competitive edge. This is one example of how companies can take a step forward.
Hewlett-Packard is big. We need the big organizations to make a bold move like this. But small, local companies can make an impact as well. Word of cities or communities thriving spreads like wildfire and can be inspirational. In the meantime, as an individual, take this time to reinvent yourself, learn a new and current skill, and be ready to contribute when businesses finally realize that they simply need to move forward.