Recently, I read an article on SalesBlogcast.com entitled “Making Time for Business Improvement and Staff Development“. The key points of this are:
It seems that there’s never a “good time” for a company to invest its resources in business improvement and staff development.
When business is good, companies feel secure and they don’t want to divert resources from processing as much business as possible.
When business is down; there are RIFs, along with cuts in travel and training budgets – i.e., the resources companies don’t want to divert when business is good are now reduced.
In order for a business to remain viable, investing in business improvement is a must, whether or not it seems like a “good time” for it.
This was reminiscent of an article I posted last year entitled “Growing Sales In A Down Economy“. Similar to the SalesBlogcast.com article, I point out that, though it can seem almost instinctive to restrict investment when the economy is down, some resources (e.g., time) are actually more available than they are during an economic boom. So, investing what you can now is wise. In doing so, you’ll be better prepared to maximize the benefits of the economy turning up again.
Recently, I took on the Director of Sales role for a leading developer of e-Learning based business solutions, headquartered in Portland, OR. So, in that capacity, you might expect my position to be that any time is a “good time” for a company to invest in education aimed at business improvement. You’d be right. In addition to my admitted bias, I’m getting a much closer look at the issues illuminated by the aforementioned SalesBlogcast.com article and on a daily basis, I’m seeing them clearly demonstrated in reality. This includes:
Companies wanting to nurture their workforce to be as competitive as possible.
Companies wanting to nurture their customer base to stimulate buying and to minimize support costs.
Much of the above-mentioned “nurturing” requires education and many companies are faced with getting this job done with fewer resources.
The admonition on this from the SalesBlogcast.com article is “Pay me now or pay me later”. I won’t argue with that wisdom. However, I think the example I used in my previous article provides more encouraging positive reinforcement so I’ll repeat that here:
So what is a more effective approach during these tough times for business? I think the best answer to this was summed up in a conversation I had with our mortgage lender, when I ran into her at a recent business meeting in our community. Of course, her industry has probably been hit as hard as any business sector, in the current economy. So, I asked her how business was going. Her response was that she’s in this for the long-term. There are peaks and there are valleys. During the last peak, she did what she knew was necessary to prepare for the next valley. And, now that she’s in that valley, she’s tending to things she didn’t have time for during the last peak and she’s doing this so she can maximize the benefits of the next peak.
So, what are your views on this topic? Whether or not you agree with my perspective, I welcome you sharing your experience.