Brian Timperley says “Honey, I shrunk the business” is the best approach in tough times


Turrito Networks’ Brian Timperley reveals why cutting the business down to size is a smart growth tactic.

There’s an ancient curse that says, “May you live in interesting times”, and this certainly captures the times that the world lives in today. Pandemic, hybrid working, fluctuating economies, market complexity – these terms also paint an accurate picture of the business world today.

Organisations are under pressure to perform, to deliver, to grow. There’s no change in stakeholder vision or corporate strategy just because times are tough. But what if it’s time to change the growth mindset? If success lies not in expansion, but in shrinking?

The problem is that, for most companies, shrinking has a negative connotation. It implies problems and instability and risk. This is not the message shareholders want to hear, or one that the business wants to share.

The thing is, shrinking the business to cut costs and become more effective is not a sign of failure, it’s an intelligent move that can fundamentally change a company’s prospects. But if it helps, maybe frame this approach as a form of compression. Compressing the rubbish and waste into efficiency and long-term financial gain.

Most companies tend to suffer from sprawl – unused office space, excess licences, unnecessary overheads. It’s easy to lose control of these things or to not even realise that they’re there. The shrink mindset turns the traditional approach of “sell more, get more” on its head, instead asking the organisation to turn inwards towards the balance sheet and find ways of cutting overheads and expenses.

Remove the large and expensive offices. Organisations should leverage the hybrid working mandate and invest in smaller offices that give staff a space where they can come together and collaborate on projects when needed.

The value of face-to-face engagements has become increasingly apparent, but with a diverse workforce and limited office interactions, smaller office spaces are a smarter move. These give employees the spaces they need to connect when needed, but don’t leave the business paying for costly wasted office space the rest of the time.

This approach can significantly improve the business without the need to make knee-jerk decisions that lose people their livelihoods or business traction. Instead of turning to sales and demanding that they do more and sell more in an environment that’s almost impossible to crack, rather downsize and downscale, cutting out the fat to build a leaner and more efficient organisation.

Shrinking the company capex frees up space, controls the corporate footprint, and allows for saved spend to instead be focused on people, products, skills and solutions.

On the people front, this approach helps the business to put people first. People are the real reason a company will succeed or fail and are not a commodity that should be shrunk, especially not in tough times. By removing the waste, the business is freeing up resources that can be used to upskill and empower existing employees; to develop skills that are going to become essential to business growth over the next few years.

Investing into skills development allows you to strengthen business and improve efficiencies and capabilities. It’s an intelligent move that helps you enhance your existing headcount while building a business that has futureproof skills and engaged talent.

Of course, technology plays no small role in the effective compression of the organisation. It is the key ingredient to making this as efficient and relevant as possible. It’s technology that helps the business to do more, with less.

Technology has given the business the tools it needs to acutely reassess its focus and move online at speed during the pandemic. And it is technology that’s allowing the organisation to become more resilient and agile. This is the bridge between the old and new worlds and the reason why the business can adopt a hybrid working model and trust in its long-term ability to succeed.

The future is still uncertain, the markets still complicated and economies still fragile, so this is the perfect time to reassess the business, to compress the waste, to shrink the unnecessary, and to focus on a lean and efficient way of working. This can be easily achieved with the right partners, technology and approaches – because the right partners ensure that you are investing in solutions that help you to futureproof the business.

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