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Squaring the Circle of  Cost Cutting and Client Development

By Mike Antonczyk and Matt Hirschland Ph.D., H2A Partners

Active cost-cutting is all around as the global economy faces serious headwinds in the form of stubborn inflation and geo-political uncertainty. At the same time, we are hearing from our clients about tremendous pressure to grow. Squaring the circle of these competing demands isn’t as hard as many will make it and those that succeed will do things faster, better and simpler than the rest.

While not mutually exclusive, cost-cutting during a downturn while chasing new revenue is the go-to move for most. And as the old adage reminds us, you do have to spend money to make money. Those who cut smartly without imperiling their client development efforts will be the hands-down winners in this next cycle.

Based on observations over the most recent up- and down cycles, and what we are seeing now (the good and the bad), those that will navigate this period well and end up on top are already doing the following:

  • Not losing sight of the top-line and what it takes to grow it – new business and engagements.
  • Avoiding acting in panicked ways that jeopardize in-flight and successful business development efforts.
  • Reconfiguring their engagement portfolio from high-cost, large-scale events to more repeatable, small gatherings of the right buyers; according to a new report by events platform company SplashThat, “flagship events are still advantageous, but the (typically more intimate) everyday events have the greatest impact on buyers.”
  • Leaning on the power, efficiency and cost savings of virtual gatherings noting that while the format has become commonplace and lackluster when done poorly, many executives tell us they value its efficiency and low-friction way of joining and having real conversations with peers (read: not webinars).

For those that feel like they are already playing catch up in a constrained environment, all is not lost. What we see working is starting small, not overthinking or over-engineering these efforts and most importantly doing something. Analysis paralysis is real and made more so when budgets are under scrutiny or being clawed back. Companies that will show results in the face of real economic headwinds are those that reconcile the competing demands of savings and growth, but do so by not sitting idly by waiting for things to improve.

If we can share more of what we are seeing and doing to help clients now we’d welcome the conversation.