Manas Kumar, Thinking out Loud

my thoughts & visions for technology

A CEO’s changelog for 2009 – Top 10 priorities

with 2 comments

2009 will be a great year for technology and technology related solutions.

Despite the current economic turmoil I feel very positive about how business is going to be in 2009. However, it will take a certain breed of leadership to rise up and take companies through this economic restructure. While everyone is talking about cutting costs, most are doing so at an employee level – even though, as a rule of thumb it should only be 18% of their overall expenses; businesses are quick to cut jobs at the first chance they get.

As a CEO, what is most important to you? Success? Growth? Profit Margin? Turnover? What?

Now think about the various factors involved in achieving this most important thing. I want you to go right back to the source of these expenses.

You spend mega bucks on acquiring new business – do you know or have a way of telling (in a snapshot) what your cost per lead/sale is? If yes, how do you know if you are paying too much or too less for winning new clients.

You also spend a lot of time and resources keeping your customers happy – If there was a way to automate that or better still minimise the customers’ need for “hand-holding” then do you see yourself saving some money?

Another one of your larger expenses is your infrastructure. Your machines, your computers, telephones, all the equipment you need to run your business – Have you considered virtualisation? Have you thought about working remotely (from home!)?

There are several techniques you, as a CEO can implement in 2009 to cut costs without necessarily cutting jobs. Here’s a quick list in my opinion.

  1. Reduce Software costs – Deploy more hosted applications
  2. Reduce Marketing Costs – Consider the online elements of marketing (instead of focusing on the tradtional, expensive offline marketing models – Here’s an effective solution)
  3. Reduce Telecommunication Costs – Consider a hosted telephone system using high quality VoIP infrastructure
  4. Know your customers better – If you have a greater understanding of what your customer needs are, servicing them beomes that much easier. Consider a Customer Relationship Management System (unless you already have one – By the way, ACT is not a CRM)
  5. Stay on top of your spending – Every marketing initiative must be measured to give you exact figures for cost per lead, cost per sale and cost per interaction
  6. Take another look at your online strategy – Review your website. Think of new ways of spicing up your website without having to rebuild it. Get a professional involved
  7. Understand your market in 2009 – How is your market responding to the economic slowdown. Review and consider a strategy to create a “Blue Ocean
  8. Ask your CIO/CTO, CMO and COO to bring in their recommendations on how to reduce costs and make 2009 a successful year (despite the economic indicators being against it)
  9. Review your staff training practices – If you dont have one, I suggest you put one in place ASAP
  10. Review your customer service regime – Use more online tools such as online surveys, email marketing, newsletter publishing to manage those relationships and grow them into higher revenue yielding clients.

Above all else – DO NOT let anyone tell you that 2009 is not going to be a great year.

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Written by manaskumar

December 21, 2008 at 4:50 am

2 Responses

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  1. This is a great article Manas. I want to use it in my Blog – under the Invited Guest category. well done!!!

    Eugene Moreau

    January 2, 2009 at 3:13 am

  2. Interesting…the way you put it. Watching the news, it seems like everyone is being laid off as the first reaction toward the global economic “recession”. While I may not agree with everything you say here, there is some value in your top 10 list.

    Rob Harding

    January 6, 2009 at 4:14 am


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