Richard Broderick Managing Director of the KAL Group.
Richard Broderick is looking out for the green shoots of economic recovery. But he also suggests that you grow your own…
Last October many financial and business leaders were predicting a global economic Armageddon. Although things may not have turned out to be nearly as bad as that, without doubt these are challenging times that unfortunately can’t be solved by just battening down the hatches and waiting out the hard times.
Whether you’re a corporate heavyweight like BA or a small family run business the challenge is the same: to mitigate the impact of the recession and to take all steps necessary to ensure the business stays profitable and grows share. In a severe downturn, we face big challenges in managing conflicting demands, such as trying to build brands while cutting costs or, toughest of all, asking staff for an increase in productivity while reducing their pay. However, these challenges are common to us all and we have no choice but to dig deep to find the reserves of character to deal with them. Where we do have choice is the way in which we choose to face the new economic reality, such as looking at alternatives ways of doing business and earning our customers’ confidence.
After speaking with many business owners in the industry I believe that the starting point for positive growth in business is the willingness to ‘think differently’. Over the last few months I’ve been constantly impressed to see how a new found spirit of innovation has created imaginative solutions to our current economic challenges.
A theme that I’m actively promoting within KAL is ‘Grow Your Own Green Shoots’, a simple idea that is best exemplified by one of our retailers. When business slowed last year, this business owner invited members of the local Countrywomen’s Association to use his showroom for cookery demonstrations. These small town events became so popular they led to Cook-Off competitions that gained a momentum of their own, culminating in an all Ireland final. In this way, he created a buzz that was innovative and fun, but most importantly drew potential customers into his showroom. For me, this is a perfect example of a business owner who understands that it’s not up to your customers to remind you to do business with them – you need to create something to get them into your showroom. In these times, if you’re willing to try new things, or just stand out a little from your competitors it will generate the extra revenue which will help you navigate your way through this stormy economy.