Great Business Ideas: Surviving a downturn

Great Small Business Ideas to Start: Surviving a downturn

Several clear principles and techniques can help turn a business around from the brink of disaster.

The idea

By the end of 1999, significant problems emerged at US technology giant Xerox. There was too much change, too fast; new, opportunistic competitors emerged; economic growth was slowing; key decisions were fl awed. These issues combined with regulatory and liquidity challenges to bring about a massive decline in revenues, the departure of customers and employees, and debts of $19 billion.

Despite this, Xerox, led by CEO Anne Mulcahy, survived the downturn and staged a remarkable comeback. The business had doubled its share price by 2006, reduced costs by $2 billion, and achieved profits of $1 billion in 2005.

The foundation for a revival in Xerox came from a strong brand with a loyal customer base, talented employees, recognition of the need to listen carefully to customers, and greater responsiveness.

The key was to win back market share with a competitive range of new products.

In practice

Several factors underpinned Xerox’s resurgence, outlining the key areas to address:

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