Thoughts on a theme…

by Dr. D. M. Paar, Ph. D 

The standard for most companies these days is to downsize to reduce overhead which translates to lowering personnel costs. People lose their jobs, products are diminished in size or are no longer existent so the consumer gets upset; perhaps products simply no longer have their previous appeal as the same quality is no longer there.

People blame the businesses, the businesses blame the government, the government blames the economy and the economists blame the people for being too timid to spend their reserves in a period of uncertainty. A vicious circle at the very least.

The truth is only an indicator of a very serious disease in a system based on want, not abundance. This follows the corporate concept of fear management; if you don’t do what I say, I will fire you. If you have too many the price drops and the product is not worth as much. If you have lots of money you can afford higher taxes. If your children aren’t starving, I’m paying you too much. On and on.

This common approach to business standardization is quite obviously propagated by the world banking system which says if we don’t have enough money, print some more. Certainly, whether the dollar or the yen or whatever currency, what historically had been backed by value (usually gold bullion) is no longer backed by anything but an elaborate Ponzi scheme. Rob Peter to pay Paul; find enough Peters to pay all the Pauls; when you can’t find another Peter make the Pauls believe you have until you can create one. Globally our current economy is one of the biggest scams ever to hit the planet the only one bigger is religion but that’s another story.

Living within a dead and dying system is not a lot of fun. This is evidenced by the malnutrition in our inner cities. We can only solve the problem entirely by removing the cancer entirely – removal of our current form of government; removal of the world banking system is what that really means. Removing politicians who need serious behavior modification.

This is all well and good but what do we do about it now. Every body knows the problem. Everybody has their own interpretation of the issues. Everybody thinks they can’t do anything about it. Everybody knows no one person is in the position to tell DMV to get stuffed, the IRS to take a hike or the state to chill out and not take our taxes in all the various forms they do. As with most very complicated problems the answer is really quite simple.

The prices are going to continue to go up at the gas pumps, causing businesses to hire people who live close by as opposed to those best qualified for the job. You, as a business person are not going to solve that problem or any other problem of the vast problem array today.

The solution today is for you to seek an opportunity. It’s really that simple. That doesn’t mean to run out and try to sell your wares, although depending on who you are you may need to do that. What that means to a business is to look for attractive markets and alter either your product to meet the needs that present themselves or create a new market where there has never been one before.

Dig out the sleeping entrepreneur in your brain and decide to do something different in your sphere of social influence today. Even if it is Sunday. If your product is just hanging on by a thread – of course, due to the economic situation of today’s times (sarcastic remark, I apologize) – commit to changing that product to something more palatable to the masses (your market, whatever it is). Only you can do that. You started your business with a specific set of values, a specific set of goals and a specific set of talents. You may have expanded your business over the years and have felt pretty comfortable up until recently – you could put a specific date range on when it all started going south if you really thought about it.

The bottom line is that if you are in the position of guiding a business – and everyone working for a living is – and you’ve recently been thinking of “downsizing”, “cutting back”, “cheapening the product”, “reducing overhead” – you are probably not alone and you are already in serious trouble. Bills are due and time waits for no management including those as brilliant as yourself.

Now that we have determined your brilliance you must admit that at one point you were very good at what you do. You still are – it’s just not worth as much to the changing society you find yourself a part of. Your view is flawed – fix that!

Fixing how you view the piece of society you exist in is a relatively simple task. For example if you are in marketing (and everyone is whether they believe it or not [a resume is a simple extension of marketing]) and there just don’t seem to be any new horizons and products that used to fly off the shelves are starting to collect dust it’s time to get out the dust cloth and take a new look at the issues and marketing opportunities at hand. Create a new opportunity from an old one – it’s like creating a new recipe from one your mother used to use! Look at an industry you’ve passed over in the past. Take a new look at the industry you’ve been servicing and pay attention to what’s changed. Alter your sales pitches to include a new look at old problems. This isn’t tough people!

Nine times out of ten a business that seems to be having trouble is simply lacking opportunities to show off. If you don’t create the opportunities yourself it’s a good chance nobody is going to do it for you. About now the guy or gal working in a corporate environment is thinking they don’t influence opportunities in their industry. Wrong. You do influence opportunities in your personal sphere of influence and if you work for a company you don’t own there are opportunities to better that company on a daily basis – you have to look for them and be creative in your endeavor.

Basically you need to get off your butt. In good times we all tend to get a little complacent in our thought processes concerning work. It’s a whole lot more fun thinking about sports, going to the beach, fishing or whatever floats your boat. Well, these times are not to be confused with good times, unless you’re a masochist or you’re the bastard taking advantage of those in trouble, which in itself is an opportunity – sort of like this paper since you wouldn’t be reading it if you didn’t think you might find an answer to solving a failing issue for you personally.

Personally. Did you get the use of that word. All of our work is very personal. The job you do is compensated at different levels by our society. In a society of abundance the compensation for work done is the same for all. We do not currently exist in that mode. Everything about your job is personal. Your compensation is personal. The job you do must produce revenue. Every day. Every working hour. For some of us that translates to every waking hour. You absolutely have to be dinging that cash register at a steady rate or you are missing valuable opportunities. The amount is insignificant but the opportunities are not.

I was told by another millionaire that he wasn’t going to give me any money. I told him rather bluntly that I wasn’t interested in his money, only his opportunities. He didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. He had earned his wealth accidentally by being in the right place at the right time with the right technology and I had no use for a person in the frame of mind he was left in since he had become so ego-centric he couldn’t see additional opportunities if they hit him in the face – and I almost did.

If there is a prominent failing prevalent in this entrepreneurial society it is consistently massaging the facts to fit the feature. You must call it like it is to gain any perspective on a solution to whatever dilemma you are facing. Get rid of the yes people in your life and start listening for the opportunities wherever you can find them. That changes the whole perspective of finances immediately! If you don’t sense an opportunity, a solution, a talent untapped in the people you surround yourself with in business you have no one else to blame for failure or uncompensated waste of time.

I once told a colleague that “When you are presented with a crisis, you need to take a step back and determine if in fact it is really a crisis before leaping into action.”. The crisis we see before us in this society is man-made; nothing else has created it simply by definition. What that means is that what we created we can either fix or undo.

At some point in creating your businesses or finding a job everyone reading this has known what to do. You still know what to do, you just aren’t used to doing it anymore. Your choice. Either you revamp and do it again or someone sensing the opportunities will do it for you – then you are out and you won’t be compensated for the time it took you to read this.

Re-vamping does not mean firing everyone you think is dispensable. What it means is re-tasking everyone who is not fulfilling the expectations of their immense talents your business hired them for in the first place. That goes for you too. Re-task yourself to create revenue from somewhere in the next hour or two. It’s right there in front of you. You’ve done it before. If you think that is beneath your position in life there is probably someone in your sphere of influence who will sense the opportunities for themselves and you lose. Remember, you never have to feel bad about the people you didn’t get rid of, or the opportunities you take advantage of.

Never let the people who built your businesses go. It makes no difference how old they are or what their education is. Don’t get rid of the technology that will re-vitalize your businesses.

A case in point comes to mind. A t-shirt shop owner in business for over twenty years is doing poorly in their market. The owner wrongly decides to close shop and cut losses and perhaps open again when the economy is a little better. The people employed are let go. The last t-shirt job is done in a midnight rush by the owners just to get the job out so everything can be closed up. The job is done so poorly by people who don’t possess the technology to do a good job that the client wants their money back. The business is closed so the client doesn’t get any money back or shirts redone. The owner will never produce another t-shirt in this area again regardless of how good the economy is because everyone in the area knows this story and doesn’t want to risk shoddy work on their behalf. The owners had let people who had the technology to make the shirts properly go – big mistake. Over twenty years of solid work came down to no further opportunities due to lack of technology at the bench.

We see the same thing in Silicon Valley and in major technology and manufacturing centers all across our nation. This is different than losing technology to time such as hand made artifacts by generations in the past. We as a nation of businesses are choosing to lose the technologies that made us great to begin with. The kids coming out of school don’t have a clue until they have been on the job quite a while and in many cases not even then. Other countries see this failing as opportunities and have jumped at the chance to replace our knowledge in industry. A perfect example is apparent by looking at what’s on the shelves in our stores. They used to be full of products from this country, now they are full of products imported using technologies we created but are no longer available here.

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