Businesses Make Changes During Recession

Business leaders say more permanent changes are needed if companies are to survive the recession in better shape than they are in now.The recession made Oregon decision-makers recognize some aspects of their business operations were no longer important. Furthermore, they say permanent change is needed for long-term success of their organization.

These are key findings from a March 2011 online survey conducted by CFM Research among 718 Oregon Business magazine subscribers.

“Survey results indicate Oregon decision-makers didn’t try to ride-out the recession but made some tough choices to keep their organizations afloat,” explained CFM Partner Tom Eiland who conducted the study for Oregon Business.

The survey found:

  • 51 percent agreed the recession helped the business or organization to prioritize what was important.
  • 64 percent agreed the recession forced the business or organization to give up things that had been important.

The impact of these insights and changes will be long term.

  • 47 percent agreed the recession would change the way the business or organization operates forever.
  • 49 percent agreed the organization would not return to the old spending habits, even if the financial situation improves. 

People and compensation clearly took the brunt of change. When asked what important things organizations gave up, staff, payroll, benefits, bonuses and 401K contributions most frequently were mentioned. Others delayed capital investments and expansion.

While response to the recession was difficult, several decision-makers said there were some good lessons learned, too. Comments from individuals included:

  • We are more careful about spending and we share ideas more. I believe we see ourselves as a single unit, rather than as departments.
  • We will stay lean and mean and watch expenses carefully.
  • We understand more than ever that customer service and keeping people's trust is huge.
  • We will have an enhanced focus on cash flow and its management.
  • The key to success is now the ability to adapt to a continually changing marketplace and to capitalize on new found markets.

Unfortunately, decision-makers don’t think we are out of the woods yet. Nearly two in three (64 percent) think, “right now it feels like we are still in a recession.”

Perhaps some of the lessons learned by Oregon decision-makers may benefit a wider-range of organizations, if the economy doesn’t improve.