In today’s uncertain financial times, many companies are adjusting budgets based on their actual shortfalls to plan or based on the increased coverage of the economic crisis taking place around the world.  In times like these, the marketing budgets, IT budgets, even the beloved company holiday party plans are cut.  While many of these budgetary exercises are necessary, the end goal should not be for a reduction in planning or efforts.

Well, that may not be rocket science but what should you do when your budgets have been slashed, staff has been reduced and the incentives it took to motivate customers and employees are gone?  Your first reaction is probably “how am I supposed to succeed now?”  The only answer is to innovate!  It will require new ideas as the ones of the past have been taken away.

Again, this is not a surprise to you either, but, you have two choices, throw in the towel or find new solutions.  The good news is that some of the new ideas can actually out perform the original plan and fortunately today, we have been provided many choices in ways to innovate.   In the IT world, Virtualization is not only more cost effective, but also offering better service levels to  users.   In marketing today, the entire social media phenomenon is not only discount disney princess moonwalk free, but, is a significant contributor to the overall awareness of  brands through many different channels. Social mobile and search engine marketing has the ability to capture new customers faster and less expensively than traditional marketing approaches.

So, what you need to do in tough times is leverage what has been provided to you and innovate a new plan with new ideas.  While the amount of effort it will take to come up with new solutions will be substantially more than it would to have stayed the course, I would take the opportunity as a personal challenge to grow and improve for your company’s sake and for your own.  I would suggest you set up short term goals with strong reporting metrics to provide corporate management to show the proof of your strategies and gain further buy-in in the longer term vision of your ideas.

In tough times, the strongly defined companies typically come out of down cycles with more market share than they had before going into the cycle.  They did so by not looking back, but innovating a way to go forward.  They did so with a measured and methodical approach.  They did so by doing things they had never done before.  They did so because the only constant in their lives was change itself.

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