Tips for Tough Times: Employee motivational techniques, how to set price points, and recession-proof technologies


Motivating through un-motivating times
Jim Evans shares a few cost-effective employee motivators: “Promotional and learning opportunities: Ironically, layoffs and the resulting consolidation of work often creates learning opportunities that didn’t exist before. New work assignments can turn a negative experience into a positive one for employees who view the situation as an opportunity to learn new job skills or promote career growth.”

Pricing Strategies for the Downturn
Paul Nunes gives some pricing tips, from minding the paycheck cycle to offering financing, on “Before discounting, companies should consider several factors to determine if they can instead hold the line. First, consider whether customers still need your specific products. Are substitutes readily available, and if so, how attractive are they? While demand may be down, the customers who are still buying might be brand loyal and willing to pay a premium for the smaller volumes they are purchasing. What risks do your customers mitigate by buying your products instead your competitors? Are you uniquely positioned because of your ability to provide timely deliver or servicing?”

Top 10 most recession-proof technologies
PC Authority’s Iain Thomson lists tech industries doing well despite the downturn. They include, not surprisingly, SaaS, telecommuting, and green tech, about which he writes: “Green technology is all about saving money, with a side benefit of helping to save the planet. As such companies are going to be investing in it to reduce the costs of running an enterprise. As an IT manager this is how you need to sell it to your board. Don’t go in there and witter on about the plight of the lesser spotted grebe. Tell them it cuts costs from the bottom line and funding will be yours.”

5 Ways You’ll Know the Recession is Over
On’s blog, Jim Hu features the signs which, according to Stanford economics professor Jim Howell, spell the end of the current recession. “It seems like everything we read about the economy is either bad or getting worse. The measurements of economic health reveal a patient that requires a stint in the I.C.U. and some time to heal. Luckily, the prognosis isn’t terminal. The American economy is resilient, and since the 1960’s economic growth phases have dwarfed periods of recessions. So if you believe in history, what goes down eventually goes up. The big question is when.”

Succeeding in a downturn
Career One has tips on what to expect and how to navigate the job market in today’s environment. “Flexibility and a range of skills will win in this market, Mr Deligiannis says. “In some sectors, where businesses are becoming leaner, all-rounders are finding themselves in high demand,” he says. “For example, experienced design engineers with additional skills, such as drafting, and project-site supervision, are required. So broadening your skill base is a positive move to make.”

Aggregation of Marginal Gains: Recession Busting Analytics
Avinash Kaushik surmises, on his blog, that simple things can add up to big things, and that by using web analytics for online businesses, we’ll know exactly how to look for them. “We are constantly on a quest to conquer the next big thing. Mountain. Ocean. Planet. ‘Conversion Buster.’ The next million dollar opportunity. Not that there’s anything fundamentally wrong with that quest. The challenge is that frequently in that quest we ignore the immediately achievable. And that tradeoff is a crime. Back in the 1980’s Jan Carlzon was trying to breathe new life into an ailing Scandinavian Air Services. He was famous for saying “You cannot improve one thing by 1000% but you can improve 1000 little things by 1%”.”

My Weekly Personal Finance Routine
The author shares the weekly habits that help him ensure his financial security. “On the first Sunday of each month, I prepare a monthly personal finance statement. This usually takes about an hour or so, since it requires collecting a lot of data from various places, organizing it, and doing a lot of comparisons to earlier months (mostly for my own interest)… I engage my wife in discussions on some of these issues. We talk about our goals. We talk about how our investments and income are doing. We talk about our plans for big upcoming purchases. We talk about our dreams, too, and about how they’re constantly evolving and growing and changing.”

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