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Carsten HolmManaging Director, DiversifiedBusiness Communications UKFrom October 2008, it was a prettyhorrible time, but up until then it hadbeen great. Our year-on-year revenuegrowth was 27 per cent ahead of thesame time the previous year, so itlooked like we were going to break allour records. By April 2009, total year-on-year revenue was down by oneper cent.A larger organiser is like a super-tanker. It's very hard to stop andchange direction. Smaller companiesare more nimble, and can changedirections more easily. When you'resmaller you can actually take advantage of problemsthe larger players and you have.We had a three-month period when we had very, verylittle activity. We got everyone together and said 'look guys,this is serious, and that's the bad news. The good news isthat everyone is in the same boat and it's easier for us totake advantage of the situation.' We needed to cut costs where we could. No moresacred cows! The way it was looking, that would includeeither cutting staff or freezing wages.We decided we wouldn't compromiseon launches and marketing. Theexhibitor and visitor experiences couldn'tbe compromised but at the same timewe had to cut costs.We took a democratic decision not tocut staff, but instead to freeze wages. Asmaller company can get away withmaking decisions like this, because themanagement and staff are on a closerlevel. People in smaller companies trustmanagementmore when they have tomake decisions like this instead ofhearing the news come down from amuch higher level where staff mightquestion management's motives.By the end of the year, revenue wasslightly down. We were looking at a year where atworst, we would be looking at a loss situation, whichwould be unacceptable. Instead, because everybody focused on thebusiness, the revenue was down slightly but themargin was up by some 30 per cent. It therefore turnedinto our best year ever.As they say, there's nought but a good recession. Itreally focuses minds and you completely review howyou do business. That's easier to do as a smallercompany. The larger organisers were definitely doingless, and that creates more opportunities for smallercompanies coming in and just doing it.Larger corporations will want significant returns froma launch quite quickly. We take a different view. If ittakes us three or four years to get revenue growth, weare happy with that.Exhibition World | FeatureTHE MAGAZINE FOR THE GLOBAL EXHIBITION COMMUNITY WWW.EXHIBITION-WORLD.NET| October 2010|21'The exhibitor and vsitor experiencescouldn't be compromised but at thesame time, we had to cut costs.'Carsten Holm