I was sitting in his uncle’s office, when Vijay walked in. Today it wasn’t Tuesday, so I asked him,”How come you are not at your factory today, Vijay ?”.
“Uncle, there is a slowdown in business recently, so I could come out here even on a working day. The boys are on the job cleaning up the plant, so I thought let me finish some outside business today”, he replied.
“Oh boy, slowdown, eh? That’s not good news”, I expressed my sympathy to him.
“Not at all, uncle. Slowdowns are necessary at regular intervals. They have so many advantages”, he replied coolly.
“Advantages of slowdowns?”, I was confused.
“Sure. Let’s count them. Advantage 1: We are a small enterprise. So during full upswings in our business, we hardly find time to undertake extensive plant cleaning. In a slowdown, we put our resources- people, to take up cleaning work. All the old junk and debris also get disposed off. The whole plant becomes so pure.”
“Advantage 2: We get Machine shutdowns. So we can schedule proper repair works of all equipment. That way, we can at peace get some basic issues addressed, and then we are fully ready to take on the next upcoming upswing, giving better and faster service to our customers”
I silently listened.
“Advantage 3: During good times, who has to the time or the energy to look out for new customers. We can hardly cater the needs of the existing ones. So during slowdowns, we get time to meet new potential customers, understand their needs and concerns with their present vendors. We can built new relationships, while retaining the old good clientele, and also weeding out some nuisance trouble makers.”
“Advantage 4: As I told you, we are a small enterprise. So during good times, our receivables do tend to climb up, largely due to higher business volumes and lack of consistent followup for payments. In slowdowns, we get enough time to push the old receivables and try to cover up on our debtors as much as possible. Whatever we can get will make our books look good, right? So you see, slowdowns have so many advantages”, he finished.
Wow, I said to myself. That’s real out of the box thinking, coming from a high-school dropout. I learnt some valuable lessons that day on how to flip each threat into an opportunity, or as I read somewhere, if life hands you lemons, make lemonade.