Ok, I’ll admit right up front that this is going to be a bit shorter blog today.  In all honesty, we’re right in the sweet spot of Oregon’s finest weather for the year and it’s a bit hard to spend my whole day inside, staring at my computer.

That said the economic weather is down-right stormy (once again the DOW is down by another 170+ points today.)  Articles, blogs, news reports online and offline are all commiserating on how bad many of the economic fundamentals are these days.  You know the list, I don’t need to recite them again here.

I certainly know the difficulty facing software companies during these kinds of down, economic cycles.  Having come through this “great recession”, among others, and selling into the construction industry, I certainly appreciate the challenges facing the managers and owners of software companies these days.  

It’s all too easy to throw in the towel by hunkering down and simply “weathering-out” the storm.

My challenge and encouragement to you today is to not approach your business this way.  There has been spectacular business growth for some during this time - Apple is one that quickly comes to mind.  And while not a pure software company, it certainly is a bell-weather tech company that is also, by the way, creating many new software industry opportunities through it’s wildly successful “iplatform” strategy.

Apple didn’t achieve this kind of growth by getting lucky, they did it by getting it right.  And, at the risk of sounding self-serving, the key area that they got (and are getting) right has been in a continual quest to discover and deliver a superior customer experience.   Which translates into great customer value and which always translates into great revenue and profits - even in a bad economy.

Another great example is Intel, with it’s four billion dollar investment in the new Ronier Acres new research factory here in my backyard.  A two year construction project employing over 6,000 workers and employing 800 to 1000 researchers and technicians when it opens.  New value discovery and delivery, that’s what Intel has it’s vision and strategy aligned to - note this is a research facility.

So, like the fishing crews featured on Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch”, who brave the stormy ocean and make the big bucks, so it is with the companies that brave the economic storms by discovering and delivering new customer value.  They’re the ones that make great gains in market share, revenue and profitability.  They’re not content to play it safe in the harbor of customer annuities and cost-cuts.

It’s all too easy to blame poor performance on the economy and end up becoming a victim of it.  Instead, use this “stormy” economy as an opportunity to find new areas of value for your customers and markets.  Remember, they have new challenges as well that require new solutions that present new opportunities to those who are paying attention.

So which is it - victor or victim?  Safe harbor or stormy seas?  Hunkering down or heading out?  I encourage you to be the one to seize the new opportunities, someone will.

Now, out to that sunshine...

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    John Geffel

    Value is a much abused, misunderstood and misused word, everyone thinks they provide it but so few show real evidence that they do!

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