In this new series of blogs written for us by one of our partners, Mike Freier, PRG is presenting a series of practical suggestions to help you through the predicted downturn of the next few months. In our combined 120+ years of experience we’ve seen this cycle repeat several times and, each time, we’ve seen and helped companies to take a pragmatic approach to managing the situation they find themselves in during a recession. Following the guidelines and advice in this blog we hope you will find ways to keep your company moving forward more efficiently and be ready to accelerate when these difficult times come to an end.

In this first week Mike examines the current business landscape we all find ourselves in and introduces the four main topics he will cover in the coming weeks, all of which have the potential to help you manage in these “down times”.

Figure 1: Inflation is currently running over 8%

2022 has been an unprecedented year, with inflation running over 8%, the S&P 500 stock index down more than 20% and 30 year mortgage interest rates exceeding 7%. It is no wonder that people are fearful and companies are taking a more defensive posture. This has been especially true for hardware companies because they require more capital to operate compared to software companies. You don’t need to be reminded of the data in the following two charts but they influence our business mindset everyday.

While the above statistics are grim, if you look back at some of the most successful companies operating today, many were formed during an economic downturn [Hewlett Packard (1939), iRobot (1990), Tesla (2003)], and then excelled over the long term. These companies were forced to operate more efficiently at the start, and so they built  more competitive business foundations and cultures that were able to thrive over time.

Figure 2: The S&P 500 is down 22.47% year to date and the fear index is at “Maximum”

In the following series of posts I hope to show you how you can take advantage of this downturn to retool your business and thrive through these uncertain times. In previous downturns we’ve noticed that certain practices provide a basis for good business management and these fall into four groups that I will discuss over the next few weeks.

  • Product Realization
  • Resource Management
  • New Product Introduction
  • Business Systems

Check back next time for a look at how to create a step by step strategy for Product Realization that aligns to your company’s (and your investors/owners) goals.

Mike Freier is Founder and Principal Consultant at the Product Management Consulting Group Inc. He has 20+ years of experience with high-tech companies, including more than a decade in product management and product marketing. He was a long-time board member and President of the Silicon Valley Product Management Association, served on the MIT-Stanford (VLAB) executive planning committee and spent several years mentoring start-up founders at the Cleantech Open. Mike graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a BSME degree.