Every day, we hear about companies cutting back, laying off employees, cutting advertising and R&D budgets, etc. And, every day, I hear about job seekers and even those currently employed cutting back on investments in self development etc. It is the overwhelming majority. However, as I discussed in a recent newsletter feature story, being contrarian can lead to staggering, unexpected results. Why not consider bucking these trends and investing NOW?
I’ve recently read an article from the New Yorker that provides evidence on how this philosophy “works” (thanks to Alan Weiss and Mark Smith for sharing the link): (click here).
Of course, I’m not talking about investing in just anything – it is important to be selective and prioritize your precious cash flow into what will provide a significant return on investment. However, in my perspective, this should be done in both good times and bad times – why would we ever throw money down the drain in low priority projects?
It is an opportunity to stand out in the crowd. For example, in one business, we invested a small amount (although huge considering the cash available) in new product development during particularly tough economic times. Although many might have thought we were crazy investing anything above $0 when we were working diligently to avoid bankruptcy, it is that investment that allowed us to introduce a new product line which was the first step in regaining customer confidence and market share. Our small investment resulted in rapid sales growth! In another example, when I left my last role as VP of Operations and decided to start a consulting business, I absolutely knew I could help companies save money but I had no idea how to find those companies. So, although officially “unemployed” and in a “start up” mode for my business, I thought I better figure out how to find those companies – sounds obvious but it required a leap of faith to invest significant funds during this timeframe. It is one of the best decisions I made because I was able to leverage the expertise of someone who had “been there, done that” – why fall into each and every pit along the way when you can find a way to leap over them? Of course I’ve still made many mistakes along the way but, after all, as I used to tell my team, “Mistakes are good. After all, if you aren’t taking any risks, you will not succeed. However, it is the repetition of the same mistake that is bad.” So, I figure I’m doing well with my mistakes!