RECESSION LOOMS: DOES THAT MEAN DOOM AND GLOOM?


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Peter Savage argues that if you think creatively, there are opportunities out there to help your business survive the recession.
Since I started writing this column in July 2007 (yes, it has been that long) the financial world has flipped over and is now standing on its head. Lehman Brothers went during IBC 2008 and, since then, life has become, if not as dull as ditchwater, as dull as dirty dishwater heading down the plug hole at an alarming rate. Thus we sit here in the UK with the words “double-dip recession” ringing in our ears and thinking, “crikey, is it really all happening again; are we heading for another recession?”.
My answer to this is, yes, probably, but not if you subscribe to the law of opposites. Little known to many (no, this is not a ‘Call My Bluff’ session), it was Marx and Engels who, in the late 19th century, developed this law. It has been endlessly adapted and is alive and well in statements such as “what goes up must come down” or in subscribing to comments about a glass being half full or half empty – or references to plain and simple positives and negatives. It works for me today as, in my view, when all is going wrong around you then good must in happening in some form somewhere.
Accentuate the positive
So, the first way to plan your way out of a recession is to be positive. There must be something good going on somewhere – whether in the UK or elsewhere. Yes, all the signs are that we are in a double-dip but for countries like China, India and South America – especially Brazil – their economies are on the up. The trick is to try to work out where there is scope for you to build business on the back of others’ recession-defying prosperity.
I am in a business that cannot export but I’m very conscious that we are in an even year – meaning that there is Euro football and the Olympics. These two huge events must have a positive effect, doubly so with the Olympics as they are being held here in the UK. Ok, so if you are not into sport, how can the Olympics benefit you? Well, for most people working in broadcast, the Olympics will have an impact because the sheer scale of the beast is likely to absorb, even if only for four weeks, most people that have a working interest in TV.
Eliminate the negative
So, don’t be afraid to learn something new. How many people bemoan the fact that the world is never going to be like it used to be. “Ah, the good old days,” they say. But life has moved on; the good old days have gone and that is a fact of life. Early adopters of new ideas – new workflow formats, for example – will always be better off than those who stick their heads in the sand of the past.
Back to basics
Then follow the basics and, yes, I’ve highlighted them before: look after cash flow; don’t over pay your staff; network; sell; and invigorate your business. Throw all of them at the proverbial wall and you will find that some of them will stick – because that’s how it goes with the law of opposites. They are also part of the law of good management and the law of hard work.

The most important of these essential business-savers is, sell. Don’t ever stop selling. You can cut your costs to almost nothing but that will not save your business if it has no turnover. So, make a mental note that you should try to contact someone new about your business, every day.
Stay focussed and fresh
Last but not least, keep your focus. I may have thrown a long list of ideas at you, but it is vital that you execute them in a planned and focused way.
For instance, I set up, in my mind’s eye, timescales for everything that I want to do in a day. First, I list my activities; then I prioritise them; and then I set myself goals. At the moment I have some transactions focusing on finance in the third world. It’s a market that I do not know well. The percentage chance of achieving those transactions is low but the rewards could be very high. We call these our ‘6-8 deals’ – it doesn’t matter whether it’s 6 to 8am in the morning or 6 to 8pm the evening, the only time I look at these deals is then.
Although I may get chased about other issues, and try never to deviate from day to day deals, I still spend ten per cent of my time on experimental work. It helps keep us fresh, new and re-invented – while making sure the bread and butter work still comes through our door.
Things can only get better
So, although its tough world out there at the moment and the UK is likely to dip into recession, remember that at times of depression the law of opposites dictates that things will get better … because they always do.
For advice on surviving the recession, do email me on peter.savage@azule.co.uk and/or write to the TV Bay editor. For more information about us, or to read other articles in this series, look at our website: www.azule.co.uk.

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