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Earlier today I posted about someone posting about somebody else’s post on jobs that are “recession proof” ( gotta love the internets :)

That post spawned a request from Jeremy Geelan over at Sys-Con to give my two cents on yet another “recession” related technology topic: 10 Tips for Riding Out the Recession as a Software Vendor.  

The post was crafted from 10 technology execs that had tips to hunker down and see this thing through :

  1. Prioritize Harvesting Existing Assets and Opportunities (Jeremy Chone @ Nexaweb)
  2. Plan For The Worst (Mitchell Kertzman, Hummer Winblad VC)
  3. Focus on Helping Your Customers’ Bottom Line (Jnan Dash, Curl)
  4. Get Revenue Control (Chris Keene, WaveMaker)
  5. Buckle Down, Conserve Your Cash (Jeff Haynie, Appcelerator)
  6. Push Agility and Speed (John Crupi, JackBe)
  7. Grow the Talent You Have (Jason Calacanis, Mahalo.com)
  8. Make Your Top Ten 10% Better (Jason Calacanis, Mahalo.com)
  9. Build Market-share (Jason Calacanis, Mahalo.com)
  10. Adopt Cloud Computing (Michael Sheehan, GoGrid & ServePath)
Good post – the “2 cents” I shared with them - 

I think everyone of these tips are excellent for any business, but aren’t all of them things we should be doing anyhow? Recession or no recession? When we look to expand our business at EffectiveUI, we look for ways our clients can save big money or really grow revenue (or both). Why else would anyone hire us? Recession proofing your company is about making your company excellent. That way, during down times you will do more than just survive, and in bullish times you will thrive.

Our focus continues to be on attracting awesome talent and fostering a culture of teamwork, entrepreneurship and execution excellence. And then, most importantly, getting out of our own way. I’ve been astounded how successful it is when you empower everyone in a company to make a difference. What does empowerment actually mean? Giving permission to fail, as long as they fail forward. It means trusting your team has done their homework and has more context than you when making important  decisions. I’m not talking about anarchy – we all collaborate on a direction, provide insight based on our experience & education, and sometimes (but very rarely) managers have to make unpopular decisions for the benefit of the entire company. However, we’ve come to realize that success does not look like a bunch of “heroes” at the top make miraculously insightful decisions that pull the company ahead – rather success looks like a bunch of small failures where managers provide support, encouragement, some structure, and above all else – foster a great team culture.

What I meant by my comments: To recession proof your business: Focus On Quality People! They are the best chance to ride through any downturn.  

Then, as an ironic coincidence, Guy Kawasaki from AllTop just twittered an old post he wrote over 2 years ago: “The Art Of Bootstrapping” … The “list”:

  1. Focus on cash flow, not profitability.
  2. Forecast from the bottom up.
  3. Ship, then test
  4. Forget the ”proven“ team.
  5. Start as a service business.
  6. Focus on function, not form.
  7. Pick your battles.
  8. Understaff.
  9. Go direct.
  10. Position against the leader.
  11. Take the “red pill.”
Guy’s post is a worth-while read for sure (you need to read it to dig into the meaning of each item) .
I would humbly argue the “proven” team item just a bit – He states that you should start with hiring young guys and gals that are really smart over experienced people from billion dollar companies. He’s forgetting about those people that come from mid-size companies that have experience under their belt and can get you where you need to go with less risk and much faster than if you hired a bunch of new college grads that have never actually put a UI on top of an SOA (or worse, they don’t know how to spell API or SOA). Even better – find a partner that has experience building enterprise applications for those billion dollar companies ;)  They can get you rolling quickly without the weight of a “corporate” structure – Best of both worlds!

 

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