Businesses most likely to prosper during these challenging economic times are not those that are overly cautious, but entrepreneurial businesses that take calculated risks and question prevailing conventional wisdom.
That's the conclusion from the white paper Making The Case For Continued Success During An Economic Downturn, issued yesterday (20 November 2008) by the European Business Awards.
The white paper examines the characteristics of Ruban d'Honneur winners (the accolade handed to 70 of Europe's top businesses) that have prospered through international trade operations, and highlights three factors most likely to be exhibited by companies that flourish during an economic downturn:
The ability to see opportunity where others see only risk.
A high level of competence in evaluating risk and mitigating against the downside.
A strong entrepreneurial spirit, characterised by determination, fast decision-making and flexibility.
"In the process of observing these businesses over the past few months, their reaction to the changing economic landscape has been impressive," said Phil Forrest, chairman of the European Business Awards Judging Panel and author of the white paper.
"All have rigorously checked that their operations are in good health to weather any economic storms. But the outstanding feature of these companies has been their focus on looking for opportunities to expand and grow."
He added: "Most businesses will approach an economic slowdown by cutting costs, from sales and marketing to research and development. This might help them to get through a tough economic cycle, but they will have a lot of ground to make up on those businesses that have been positive, growth orientated and opportunistic."