While many of us have been through economic downturns, most of us have never been through an economic downturn quite like this one. Yet even in severe business circumstances there are opportunities to sustain our core business and strengthen the position of our associations by looking beyond the current bad times.
Although it may be some time before we see clear skies on the horizon, there are steps each of us can take this week, this month, this quarter, to better position our associations for the future—stay focused on your core business, maintain a long-term view (while paying attention to the essential short-term actions), relentlessly manage costs (some bargains are only available in a downturn…think real estate) and work diligently to strengthen the loyalty of members, vendors, suppliers and stakeholders. Some of them are surely hurting in this current financial storm and need the association’s support and help.
Darrell Rigby a director at Bain & Company conducted extensive research among Fortune 500 firms that had lived through industry slumps and economic recessions. The resulting article Moving Upward in a Downturn published in the Harvard Business Review offers some useful insights on ways you can help the industry and the Association emerge stronger and better positioned to take advantage of an economic recovery when it arrives. If you prefer something more “association-centric” check out 7 Lessons You Can Learn from Business. It’s a brief article authored by yours truly offering ideas for managing in an economic pinch published in ASAE and The Center for Association Leadership’s Membership Developments newsletter.