Guest Post

The Nerve of Understanding Value

by Reid Carr

Part of why I think we experienced continued growth through the downturn — approximately 40% growth in 2009 — was because we retained our focus on continuous improvement. We weren't sitting idly by awaiting what might happen to us; we were placing bets on important new services that were in demand and on technology that could reduce our costs. We were adapting to meet the changing environment and looking for opportunity.

At the end of 2008, when we were planning for 2009, we couldn't dismiss outright the fact that the economy was sliding into recession. We could, however, abide by our observation that the world changes around us and we have to adapt to stay ahead. When times were good we didn't rest in the rising tide, we determined to prove our value among stiff competition and be better than the rest to grow. In the difficult economic times we witnessed in 2009, we were prepared for the rough waters with lower cost and high impact social media services. We optimized our resource management through both technology and operational process.

Probably the most important thing we keep in mind is that the value we provide to each client is unique to them. Through proactive communication and research, we are constantly reminded of how each client derives value from the different things we can provide by adapting to their needs as conditions change. By listening to clients and observing the environment around them with an optimistic eye rather than one of despair, we can clearly see opportunities as they rise. In doing so, we can position our services and trim non-essential costs to meet clients' changing needs.

The conditions our clients operate within are the best leading indicator to our future. As we saw declines in their respective industries, we worked to nimbly expand our client base with new, valuable services that both existing and prospective clients would need. We also identified growing industries to target. So, we won several new clients in 2009 with services that help them reduce costs, even as we focused on particular industries, such as consumer staples.

Going into 2010, we have set our sights on further operational efficiency to better deliver our services at competitive prices. We will also continue investing in training and educating employees so that we're prepared for advances that can become an advantage for our clients. Even when we experience strong growth, we can't sit still; we can't expect that by remaining in the right place at the right time, we'll maintain growth. To stay satisfied, we need to improve on our successes and continue to adapt to meet the changing needs of our clients regardless of the current economic condition. Opportunity is everywhere for those who understand the value they can create for clients and customers.

Reid Carr is CEO of Red Door Interactive, a 3-time Inc 5000 Internet Presence Management company headquartered in San Diego, CA.

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