15th December, 2008
I’ve had a few discussions recently at some of the networking groups I attend about how we are embarking on “interesting” times. And whilst discussing how increasingly interesting these times may become, most of those I spoke to are wary that trading was going to get more difficult, despite the fact that nearly all seemed to be rushed off their feet in the run up to Christmas.
I know too well that when recession bites then businesses start to look for cost cutting measures. Market research tends to be one of the things first in line for the chop. Something that could give businesses cutting edge intelligence over less market savvy competitors yet is considered a luxury to be enjoyed during successful times rather than a differentiator and an essential part of regular business planning.
But, tough times mean tough decisions and all hands to the pump. Strategic marketing is replaced with knee jerk, desperate and direct sales activity. Investment in building business relationships through networking events and a chat over coffee is replaced with time in the office “doing real stuff.”
So we should not be surprised then that some new research by Vanson Bourne and T-Mobile found that 81 per cent of leaders of small and medium sized businesses are planning to spend less time out of the office during the festive season because they feel guilty about doing so.
This is despite that 76 per cent of them admitted that the current financial climate has made attending networking events more important to them. They know it, they just can’t trust themselves to do it.
In my experience December is a time when there are twice as many networking events to go to. That’s twice the opportunity to refresh connections and agree a business catch-up in the new year, twice the opportunity to meet a new trading partner, and twice the opportunity to get out the office and make a difference to the year ahead!