The GDP has been on a roller-coaster ride of late.
Recent reports of economic indicators, such as GDP, show modest signs of economic recovery. GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced in the US. Third quarter GDP grew at 2.8%, slightly below the 2.9% economists expected. But the third quarter rate does reflect the second straight quarter of positive growth vs. the declines seen in the prior four quarters.
Economists project fourth quarter growth between 2.5% - 3%, depending heavily on how generous consumers are during the holiday season. Though still positive, growth in 2010 will likely drop to about a 1% pace.
Modest, yet positive signs are also showing up in consumer spending and corporate profits. Third quarter consumer spending grew at 2.9% in the third quarter, slightly slower than the 3.4% growth rate economists had estimated.
Business third quarter after-tax profits grew at a rate of 13.4%, up from a .9% growth rate in the second quarter.
The good news is, the economy is growing. The not–so-good-news is that growth will be slow, taking longer for the economy to recover.<
What can your company do to keep your head above water and achieve growth rates higher than the economy’s meager trends?
Here are some strategies you can implement right now:
Keep your customers!
Your customers are your most valuable asset. Your most efficient way to grow is to keep the ones you have. Customers vote with their feet…they take their pocketbooks where they get the greatest “value” for their money. Make sure they continue to vote with you!
- Be a valuable resource - Understand what customers need from you and be relentless in exceeding their expectations.
- Be easy to do business with - Don’t make customers jump-through hoops to give you their money. Ensure your business processes are simple and high quality.
- Be timely – Don’t make customers wait. Prevent long waiting lines. Be on time for scheduled deliveries and service calls. Schedule appointments at times convenient for customers.
Actively manage your costs!
Efficiency is driving most of the corporate profits these days. Costs must be actively managed over time in order to maintain ongoing profitability. If you focus on the strategies to keep your customers, you’ll be on your way to managing your costs.
- Eliminate waste – Waiting, excess inventory, unnecessary transportation, and rework that causes extra processing are all examples of waste. Make improvements in processes to eliminate wasteful activities and outcomes.
- Establish guidelines – Ensure employees are aware of spending guidelines and accountable for following them. Guidelines must not negatively impact your ability to serve customers well!
Recognize, Reward & Celebrate
Morale and motivation among employees most likely will continue to suffer throughout the recovery. Employees are your second most valuable asset. Help employees through this time by creating a positive and open work environment.
- Communicate clearly and often – Share information with employees as much and as often as possible. Share company financials, recovery strategies and how they can help the company achieve its goals.
- Show appreciation – Recognize & reward employees for their contributions to the company’s success. Make recognition & rewards meaningful. Make employees stars by sharing their best-practice examples throughout the company.
- Celebrate success – Employees love to be appreciated! Celebrate the progress of individuals, teams and the company overall.
Which of these areas is your greatest opportunity? Use this list as a tool to begin making meaningful progress toward your company’s recovery today!
Check out these articles for more information:
Bloomberg.com: U.S. Economy Expanded at a 2.8% Rate in Third Quarter