After you have made all the cuts in staff and budgets to match the reduced sales volume, what else should management be doing? The most important activity should be focusing on increasing sales. Management people, particularly those involved in the technical side of the business, can be a valuable resource in this capacity. Visits from senior tech people with key customers to review their current needs and focus on how your company can meet those needs can be very rewarding.

The reduced activities at the plant provide more time for developing new ideas. Make sure you keep focused on the agreed-to new product development so that it stays focused on an early release when the recession is over. But what of other opportunities?

How are your competitors faring? Is there an opportunity here for developing merger or acquisition plans? Some companies will be hit harder than others by the recession, and this will likely open the door to these discussions. Don’t skimp on travel expenses for this activity. During the 1981 recession on an overseas trip, I was able to develop a new relationship with a foreign producer to sell their products in the U.S. market on very favorable terms. This gave us a whole new product line to introduce after the recession and eventually led to a major realignment of our companies.

How about making a major upgrade to your IT systems? With business slow, some good deals can be developed. During the 2001 recession following the great Y2K effort by the IT companies, we were able to get a very good break for updating our systems.

If you are not using your experience as a senior manager to develop new ideas, why are you more valuable to the company than one of those bright younger managers (who are also cheaper)? This is why you get the “big money.” Managers not engaging in these efforts should be the target of review for job changes.