When times are good in business, everyone’s spending, business booms and it’s happy days. Everyone “makes hay while the sun shines” and life is good. But when times are a little harder, it’s “batten down the hatches” and an immediate tightening of the purse strings.
It’s easy to worry during slow periods and the knee-jerk response is to cut costs. This is an understandable reaction, but it could actually be counterproductive.
In this article, we’re going to explore the common problems businesses are facing in 2019 and why cutting costs like the employee training budget is not a smart response.
Common problems businesses face in 2019
During tough times, there are a number of common issues businesses face. We’ve recently been seeing these problems over and over again at CJM — clients come to us saying the following things:
“Our enquiry rates have gone up, but we can’t seem to close enough deals.”
“We’re under more pressure to help our customers’ businesses grow, but we just don’t know how in the current climate.”
“I’ve got a solution to a problem but can’t get my business case heard because budgets have been cut.”
“I’m under a lot of pressure to lower prices but this is hurting our margins.”
Do any of these complaints resonate with you or remind you of issues your employees are facing? If so, you’re most certainly not alone. But there are things you can do to achieve growth in the sort of low growth environment we’re facing in 2019.
Why cutting employment training budget isn’t the answer
Employee training budgets are high on the chopping block when times get hard. However, the benefits of prioritising the ongoing professional development of your employees is paramount in order for the business to survive inevitable slow periods.
Training your employees in effective communication is equipping your business with exactly the right tools to face the storm. For example, improving the influence and collaborative capabilities of your team can strengthen client relationships, since an immaculate customer experience is in higher demand than ever.
Employee training in collaboration could be an effective solution when facing lower project or product development budgets; collaboration internally, of course, but also there may be opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships outside of your immediate team.
Slow cashflow? You need to extend influence to the whole customer relationship, not just the sale. It’s about building relationships, not transactions. Andrew Griffiths writes in Inc. about the importance of communication in tough times:
“You need to be communicating with your customers, engaging them, finding out what is going on in their world and most importantly of all, becoming very clear on what your customers need from you.”
This is also the time to chase new business harder than ever. Oddly, business development is another activity in the firing line when times get hard. Your Business Development Managers and sales professionals need to be at the top of their game right now, engaging with prospects and using their influence to convert leads into invoices.
This is yet another reason why continuous business training in effective communication should be prioritised and not sidelined during periods of low growth.
Under margin pressure? Clearer articulation of your messages can protect fair pricing. How? It’s all about understanding and communicating your value.
“Improving the influence and collaborative capabilities of your team can strengthen client relationships, since an immaculate customer experience is in higher demand than ever”
Benefits of employee training in communication
Some more benefits of effective communication are listed in Entrepreneur:
- Stronger decision making and faster problem solving
- Earlier warning of potential problems
- Increased productivity and steadier workflow
- Stronger business relationships
- Clearer and more persuasive marketing messages
- Enhanced professional images for both employers and companies
- Lower employee turnover and higher employee satisfaction
- Better financial results and higher return for investors
These are qualities you want your business to have when operating in a low growth environment. Not only that but, to return to our “batten down the hatches” analogy, or introduce another one about construction, this is the time to shore up the foundations of your business. Employee training does exactly that.
To quote Andrew Griffiths again: “This is the very best time to invest in your business. It is time to give the outside a coat of paint, upgrade the website, come up with a new corporate image, train your staff, invest in new technology and really anything else that will make your business look more impressive and run more impressively.”
Ultimately, business leaders need to stop viewing employee training as an expense and start seeing it as an investment, the foundation of business and employee growth.
So, to invest in the future of your business through effective employee training in communication, secure a place for you and your team on our Mastering Communication workshop.
Having led a range of businesses in both small and complex teams, Tim enjoys working with people and organisations determined to realise their potential – those prepared to act decisively and with the conviction required to bring that potential to life.