Agility helps private companies play the long game

    TORONTO, Jan. 21 /CNW/ - The current economic downturn is forcing private
companies to make difficult decisions to ensure short-term survival and
increase long-term opportunities. A new article released today by
PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) Private Company Services group provides key
steps for business owners and managers to avoid knee-jerk decision-making and
focus on playing the long game.
    "The decisions that private companies make now will determine how they
are positioned when the cycle turns," says Eric Andrew, national leader of
PwC's Private Company Services practice. "Companies need to be agile enough to
take advantage of the downturn's opportunities-and be among the strong
survivors in the long run."
    To help private companies make good decisions during the downturn, Andrew
recommends these key steps to strategic agility.

    -   Begin with your strong core competencies. Consolidate your core
        competencies and focus on all the business fundamentals that have
        brought you success this far.
    -   Focus on solid cost controls. If you have good cost controls and
        understand them well, you then have the flexibility to address short-
        term threats and long-term opportunities.
    -   Identify your best customers, focus on them and reinforce your
        relationships. Good customers reduce your vulnerability during a
        downturn. Think about what is impacting your customers; look ahead
        and behind to see how they are faring.
    -   Preserve and build your brand. Companies tend to cut back on
        advertising and branding in a downturn. For companies with a strong
        balance sheet, there's an opportunity to stand out even more-and
        often at a discount.
    -   Protect your best employees. Companies that hold on to their best
        employees during a downturn-and snatch up those who are being let go
        by other companies in a panic-are going to be the ones with the
        competitive edge in the war for skilled labour when better economic
        times arrive.
    -   Have zero tolerance for subpar results. Resources and cash are
        scarce. If you're not getting your desired performance, deal with the
        issues now.

    The full article can be found in the "Let's Talk About" series of
articles at This series of articles from
PwC's Private Company Services group helps business owners think about topical
issues and opportunities that can affect the performance of their business.
    For more information on managing in a downturn, visit

    PricewaterhouseCoopers ( provides industry-focused assurance,
tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its
clients and their stakeholders. More than 155,000 people in 153 countries
across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop
fresh perspectives and practical advice. In Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
( and its related entities have more than 5,200 partners and
staff in offices across the country.
    "PricewaterhouseCoopers" refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario
limited liability partnership, or, as the context requires, the
PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network,
each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.

For further information:

For further information: Nina Godard, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, (416)
941-8383 ext. 13520,; Carolyn Forest,
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, (416) 814-5730,

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