Don’t Wait Until
it’s Too Late!
Ten Things You Must Do Now
By George Hedley
have stopped buying, companies are closing, layoffs are common,
banks have stopped lending, consumer confidence is falling, and the
list goes on. Many business owners hope things gets better before
it’s too late and are struggling to stay afloat during these tough
As a business owner, manager or leader your choice is simple.
Do what you know you need to do and do it fast, or die a slow death.
Most people are afraid to make tough decisions, try new ideas, or do
business differently. So they continue to hope their outdated
business strategies will keep working as they tread water or sink
slowly and wait for something good to happen. Even if survival is
your goal, past methods won’t work. Running your company the same
way you always have will result in failure. The successful will make
tough decisions. What difficult choices do you need to make right
now to grow your business and make a profit?
You must do
these ten things right now:
1. Set goals to
grow and make a profit now!
your prices and cutting costs. Start focusing on sales, customers,
and making money. Write down your annual targets for revenue, direct
costs, overhead expenses, and net profit for the next three years.
This will get you aligned in a positive direction so you decide what
steps you’ll need to take to achieve your profit goals.
2. Cut your fixed cost of doing business now!
Determine what your business really needs to prosper in tougher
times. Decide how much overhead you can cut, so you can make a
profit with reduced revenue. Eliminate all unnecessary expenditures
or underutilized people. Hold a company contest to see who can cut
the most money from the budget. Sell or eliminate any underutilized
equipment or assets. And if you can’t sell it, rent it out.
3. Preserve cash now! In times like these, cash is
king. Delay any major purchases. If you really need something, lease
it on an “as needed” basis. Outsource or subcontract as many things
as possible including engineering, manufacturing, design, drafting,
accounting, human resources, payroll, maintenance, training, or
trucking. The more services you outsource, the longer you hold on to
4. Cut your poor
employees who have bad attitudes, stopped contributing, don’t make
money, or don’t fit into your long-range plans. Good people are
easier to find now, so you have choices. Rate your people on an “A -
B - C” scale. Keep the A’s, train and challenge the B’s, and
replace the C’s with potential A’s.
5. Go visit your
top customers now!
businesses have a handful of loyal customers who provide 80 percent
of their revenue. Make a list of your top 10, 20 or 50 repeat
customers. Go see them and ask about their needs, problems, and
plans. Learn how your company can become a bigger part of their
future, how you can provide additional services and solutions, and
what else you can do to improve your relationship.
6. Seek new
customers and markets now!
Continuing to sell your services or products to the same customers
won’t give you better results. As sales opportunities decrease, you
must increase the number of sales proposals to land the same amount
of business. Your selling price might be lower, so more revenue will
be required to hit your profit goals. Start looking for more
customers, markets, and territories. Seek difficult, technical or
complicated customer requirements competitors won’t go after. Find
new underserved locations or forgotten customers waiting for what
you have to offer.
7. Get in the opportunity business now! Why
do you continue to only offer what you’ve always provided? Wealthy
business owners realize their companies are platforms to seek
business opportunities to maximize their bottom-line. For example,
speedy printers keep busy by printing for customers who show up at
their store. Successful printers are pro-active and seek new
creative types of entrepreneurial opportunities like joint venturing
with authors to publish books or producing catalogs for a piece of
the profits. Seek strategic alliances, ventures, new profit centers,
and additional services.
sales and marketing now!
Now, more than ever, you must make marketing and sales your top
priority. Advertise or mail to your target list monthly. Enhance
customer relationships via meals, sporting events, and time
together. Send thank-you cards and handwritten notes to every
customer to let them know you appreciate their business and want to
do more. Upgrade your image, presentation, stationary, uniforms,
facility, signs, storefront, and web-site.
spending on technology now!
Can you improve or become more efficient by implementing
cutting-edge technology? Make it your goal to eliminate paper, and
never stop upgrading your technology.
10. Seek companies to buy now!
Keep on the lookout for struggling companies available to
acquire at low prices. Weak competitors may need an infusion of cash
and consider merging with your business. Also look for distressed
real estate to invest in. Get out of your comfort zone and look for
new ways to make more profit.
You can continue to
do business the same way and hope it gets better, or you can start
looking for new ways to build your business. The only way to succeed
in tough times is to make tough decisions, face reality, and change
the way you do business. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Implement
these ten ideas now!
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