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Shifting roads

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DQW Bureau
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From my office to home, I zip down the expressway that connects Gurgaon to

New Delhi. The first 12 odd kilometers are sheer fun. The next twelve are not.

Not bad traffic, but much much slower. I try to keep the addictive pace of the

expressway, and soon discover that it is a silly thing to do.

It now appears certain that the Indian economic growth will slowdown. How

much may be a matter of conjecture. It is like getting off the expressway and

driving on to the side roads. And some changes in driving habits are needed.

There is, or should be, caution in the air. Often there is only a thin line

between caution and panic. Panic is certainly not on the horizon, but it's best

to get a few things in order now, so that you stay on the right side of caution.

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Customer is the king. Now he will become a temperamental king. Things are in

a flux for him, so there could be new requirements altogether. Can you deliver

these new requirements? You may have had a great solution for him, but it's time

to go beyond being in his shoes. One will have to get into his skin and see what

part of the solution he really needs? Can you create a great package out of

that? It is time to talk-and listen-to him once again.

It's also times like these when organizations stick to the basics, and go

easy on the frills and fancies. So, if your products cannot solve his needs,

it's time to quickly develop some that will. If you have products that only add

shine to what your client already has, it will be tough to sell them. And

anything you come up with will have to meet the needs, without making him bleed.

Managing your people will

be a key thing now. Hikes may not happen as planned, but don't let the

morale go down. And getting in replacements may just become easier


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And there will be kings who can order and kings who can pay. Identifying them

will get more critical as things tighten up in the market. If your business is

solely focused on a set of specific customers, who are more directly hit by a

recession in the West, it's time to change tracks and get in new types of

clients. New clients or old ones, payment cycles could get stretched. There's

likely to be a tight leash on spending, so it's best to be prepared for long

payment cycles. And if things get rougher, some payments may not come in at all,

so pad for some punches like that.

Sales will take a bit longer than your usual cycles. So, a supplemental sales

strategy will be in order. In fact, it's time to just focus on getting in the

business, and all efforts should just converge to that. In tough times, the

large and old customers deliver. But these are also times when businesses find

new ways to grow.

Exploring new market options may help in finding new customers right under

your nose. And if they are not right under your nose, they are in tier-2 and 3

cities. And they need you to make it big! So, watch out for new business

opportunities that will emerge out of the new market scenario.

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Managing your people will be a key thing now. Hikes may not happen as

planned, but don't let the morale go down. And getting in replacements may just

become easier.

It boils down to change-once again. Tweaks in strategies, transitions to new

business models, and evolving new products, services and solutions. For old

timers, it would be like similar cycles that have been overcome earlier.

The question is: are you ready to get off the expressway and drive on the

side roads?

The author is Editor-in-Chief, CyberMedia

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