Innovation

How to Beat the Recession: Frank A. Wilson

Tried and true strategies from entrepreneurs who've been there, fought back and won

Written by Chris Atchison and Susanne Ruder

FRANK A. WILSON

President of Toronto-based IT and engineering staffing firm T.E.S. The Employment Solution

BEAT THE TECH CRASH

FIND SMART SAVINGS ACROSS YOUR BUSINESS

“During the dot-com bust, many people who were in the IT business suffered immensely,” says Wilson. “Our sales dropped from about $59 million prior to the crash, to around $43 million after.

“A lot of companies cut back their sales staff, but without sales you don’t have a business. So, our emphasis was always on sales, sales, sales. All hands to the pump, as they say.

“We had a meeting with our team, and we decided collectively that there would be no terminations. Everyone agreed to salary cuts—roughly 10% at the top end—in order not to hurt any of our people or their families. Then we renegotiated rents with our landlords, who were very amenable to it. We looked at cutbacks in advertising, because we advertise strongly in publications like the Yellow Pages or Tele-Direct. And we tried to keep the spirits of our people at the highest possible level.

“Weathering the storm is not enough. It’s mission-critical to reposition yourself for the next upturn. We were always a proactive organization, never reactive. If you’re reactive, you’re going to die.

“It was a good year and a half before we started seeing sales climb back up, but T.E.S. became more resilient, successful and a stronger force to be reckoned with in our industry. Today our sales are over $100 million.”

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Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com