In a word NO, at least I don’t think so. It can mean that-- but today, or really at any point in history it doesn’t really mean that the quality of your product/service has to become worse. In fact I believe that often when we go through tough economic times we find out what is necessary and cut out fat – or unproductive efforts. Often once we find out what is really important and focus on that, we actually improve the quality of our service. For some reason when times are good we bloat as companies (and often as people).
Challenge: If your business is currently hurting due to tough economics then take some of the free time you probably now have to reconsider your operation. Look at what is important. Try to think of better ways to take care of your customers. When you do this consider using cheaper technology to help (as a technology person for 25 years I believe today we have some of the coolest and cheapest technology available right now for operating, marketing and accounting for your business).
I did this back a while ago. I considered my business of supporting customers corporate networks: People wanted to use their networks but often when they just jump in without rules or a plan they mess up their computers and the costs to support their systems were climbing. I wanted to help but I couldn’t see providing my service for free or lowering my hourly rate.
So, I reconsidered the whole thing. I came up with an idea I called proAktivR. In this plan I felt that I could monitor some key functions on a corporate network for a flat amount each month and that this would lower my customers support costs. Added to this would be some rules that the computer users should follow (and then of course monitor if they are indeed following those rules). This isn’t about restricting they way people use their computers to perform their jobs, it is about keeping computers running to perform the job and doing so at less cost. Every company has slightly different rules because people need to be able to do different things. Sorry if this sounds like an advertisement I probably could have come up with other examples but this one is close to me, so it’s more personal.
This is what I’m talking about. Cut costs but not the quality. This may be a bad example because people won’t want to hear it but it’s like a DIET. You often don’t need to eat less just eat different. If you are eating High Sugar, High Carb foods that process through your system quickly and don’t provide the proper nutrition you need you won’t be operating at peek performance and you may be more bloated than if you ate better proteins, better carbs and more vegetables. Both eating plans will keep your tummy full but they are very different.
Maybe it’s time for business to change it’s eating plan. It’s definitely time to become more creative.