Wednesday, June 16, 2010 | Posted by: Fiona Cullinan
Categories: Media sector, Technology sector | Tags: business, Alex Connock, entrepreneurs, recession, media, economy, BBC, George Osborne, trends, funding, public sector, future, creative industries, Tina Brown, freelance, profit analysis, gigonomics
In a recession, everyone, and every company, has to become a freelance hustler, says Alex Connock, chief executive of Ten Alps PLC. Here he explains why…
“Now that everyone has a project-to-project freelance career, everyone is a hustler.”
Brown wrote about how her friends were jobbing around different companies and earning a crust by their wits – and how dispiriting it was to listen to their stories about it.
At the time I thought she had overdone the point; even in the survey she did, two in three people weren’t freelance and still had a permanent employer.
Yet having now lived through a year of recession, I think it was I who missed the point completely.
This really is a gig economy, a brutal one, and everyone really is a hustler. Even those who are in full-time work are hustling for business. And the companies they work for are hustling, too. We see it every day – in the high street, in the workplace.
In almost every organisation I know, everyone’s job has now become about a profit analysis. If your role can’t be justified in terms of sales and profit generation, it could be in jeopardy, because it could be cut without business being lost.
Is that overblown? Not really.
From 22 June 2010 this kind of cost-benefit analysis will be applied across the entire UK public sector – as Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne applies the same kind of test to the cost side of the public equation, probably with consequences for thousands of organisations and workers.
The points he outlined in the Commons last week – Does the Government need to fund the activity? Can it be funded more efficiently? – are the same that every company has been asking for the past year as well.
He’s asking for a spot of what Tina Brown calls ‘gigonomics’ even in the heart of public sector delivery, and actually, given the climate, I admire that.
So how to deal with that? I’ll credit my Ten Alps colleague, Bob Geldof, with two priceless aphorisms.
First – ‘In a crisis, always overreact.’
Deal with business issues by selling harder than you need to. Work harder to win business than ever before: overreact to an economic situation already bad enough to merit a pretty serious reaction in the first place, by putting measures in beyond what was needed. Businesses can respond to gigonomics by becoming more fleet of foot, more client-driven and more reactive; more like freelancers in many ways.
Second – ‘Be bold.’
“Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” (WH Murray). You, or your company, might be doing a ‘gig’ – a job, a contract, a project, for a client, won no doubt at great cost of effort and investment. So, go as far as you could conceivably go to over-deliver, to make it a profitable one, to make it a creative success. Surprise everyone with the boldness of the activity.
Hard to win business, easy to lose it, fight to maintain it – that’s gigonomics, and that’s the reality of all our working lives today. It’s not easy to do, by the way.