Are you prepared for the next downturn?

Unfortunately I could not make the Staffing Industry Executive Forum this year.  Having a 3 month old has grounded many of my travel plans (he’s worth it).  After speaking with a few of the attendees it sounds like it was a good conference.  I’m sure there were many interesting discussions surrounding the economy.

This morning, the SIA sent out an email summarizing some of the highlights of the event including Barry Asins keynote address where he informed the crowd of an expected decline in total staffing industry revenue of 12.5% in 2009.

Another event mentioned was a panel on the history of staffing.  During this panel discussion, William Stoller, founder and vice chairman of Express Employment Professionals, advised that staffing suppliers need to start planning for the next recession after the next uptick.  While other people disagreed with this suggestion I actually found it quite profound.

Over the years I’ve noticed that companies in the healthcare staffing industry always seem a bit shocked when there is a downturn.  For many of them, I’ve found that their strategy during these times is to simply hang on.  Then, once everything has magically righted itself – they’re back to business as usual.

I would suggest a better strategy than simply hanging on.  Something more in line with Mr. Stoller’s comment.  Instead of just preparing for your business to pick back up again, it seems prudent to have plans in place to better weather the next storm.

Such plans may include:

  • Diversify your business.  Offering new products and services.
  • Finding other niches and establishing a foothold, particular those that do well during downturns:  <hint> Direct Placement </hint>.
  • Remain nimble. Ensure your processes are flexible and allow you to move and adjust with the changes in the economy.  Automation is key here.  The more you automate the quicker you can understand trends and make necessary adjustments.

Are you preparing for the next downturn or just waiting out the storm?

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4 thoughts on “Are you prepared for the next downturn?

  1. Great post! I hope that those companies that do make it through learn a lesson. However, the typical waste and excess of business as usual tends be the norm. It takes work to run lean.

  2. Thanks Greg. Agreed. Becoming more agile is difficult to do. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Also – I just checked out your website. I really like the design/content.

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