Implementing a business strategy, cultivating customers and encouraging a talented team — it all requires self-assured leadership in the face of pressure. We all have different management styles, and it’s easy to feel uncertain in times of change. Here are five ideas you might consider to foster a resilient business.
- Establish or strengthen your relationship with your elected leaders at the local, state and national level.
Start with a simple note or phone call. A congratulatory letter to the winners in your state is a great way to open the dialogue. Emphasize your expectation as a constituent that collaboration and compromise will be the new order of the day. You can also include a request to meet and an invitation to visit your company. Be sure to follow up with appropriate staff.
“Even if you didn’t vote for who was elected, it’s important to establish a relationship. You can be a valuable resource and advisor on legislation impacting your company and your industry if you are engaged in the process,” advises AMT VP – Marketing and Communications Amber Thomas, who has 30 years of experience in advocating on behalf of U.S. manufacturers.
In last month’s AMT News, she reminded manufacturers about their commanding voice to make positive change in their cities, states and nation. “Manufacturers are the preservers of national security, the drivers of economic growth, and the creators of stable, well-paid jobs. By connecting with to your representatives, American manufacturers can lead this country into a strong and healthy future.”
2. Stay in touch with your association. Your association works for you to help further your business goals. Visit their websites to stay informed about the latest industry news and resources to strengthen your company. If you are an advanced manufacturer, connect with AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology on Facebook (Facebook.com/AMTNews), Twitter (@AMTonline) or Instagram (@AMTonline). Join AMT at meetings and conferences. Mark your calendar for:
- 2017 Winter Economic Update Meeting & Webinar, Cincinnati, Ohio, January 27, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- The MFG Meeting, Amelia Island, Fla., March 22-25
- MT360 (Formerly [MC]2), Spring 2017
- 2017 Distribution Summit – D17, St. Louis, September 13-14
3. And if you are an AMT member, contact AMT’s business analysts to improve your bottom line. AMT analysts conduct custom market research, develop strategic business plans, identify potential sales leads, offer one-on-one consultation with industry experts, and produce industry-specific benchmarking surveys. These services are comparable to consulting services offered by expensive global firms. As a member you are entitled to four hours of custom per month. Larger requests are done at dramatically lower than market rates offered by other consulting firms. Find out how AMT analysts can help you by emailing Kim Brown at KBrown@AMTonline.org or calling her at (703) 827-5218.
4. Review your company’s digital presence. A recent article from Manufacturing Global noted that manufacturers, just like any other business, need to be mindful about their online customer experience. Younger customers – those identified as “digital natives”, who’ve spent their lives growing up with the internet — are coming of age and will be looking for you online. What is your digital face telling the rest of the world?
Review your website to keep your content up to date. Conduct regular online searches of your company’s name and product names to see what people are saying about you. If you do a Google search for the products that your company sells, where does your name turn up in the results? If you aren’t using social media, the time is now. There are plenty of guides to help you get started if you need to establish a plan.
5. Protect your company’s information systems and connected machinery. NIST just released two resources to help small businesses secure their data and information.
- Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals (http://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/ir/2016/NIST.IR.7621r1.pdf) guides small-business owners not experienced in cybersecurity and explains basic steps to better protect their information systems. “Many small businesses think that cybersecurity is too expensive or difficult;Small Business Information Security is designed for them,” said Pat Toth, who leads outreach efforts to small businesses on cybersecurity at NIST. “In fact, they may have more to lose than a larger organization because cybersecurity events can be costly and threaten their survival.” In fact, the National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60 percent of small companies close down (from staysafeonline.org) within six months following a cyberattack.
- NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/PubsDrafts.html#SP-800-181) provides a common language to help U.S. employers more effectively identify, recruit, develop and maintain cybersecurity talent.