February 20th, 2010 Archive

Don’t Let the Fat Lady Sing

February 20th, 2010 by Liz in Financial Freedom

The recession is said to be waning down this year, but until we’re fully recovered, we’re not out of the woods yet. Plenty of measures were taken by big and small businesses last year in order to help them survive. A number of them may have been successful, but sadly, others were not. Many companies still had to let go of people and close down under the pressure of the recession.

Since we know that the economy goes through its own cycle, (pretty much like everything in life, yeah? <g>) it’s inevitable that this kind of unfortunate phenomenon will repeat itself – but hopefully not in the near future. Whatever the economic condition, there are always measures that you could do to protect your business. Two featured articles in the Small Business CEO Magazine offer us a few of these tips.

Turn It Up

When the economy starts bringing your business down, don’t fret. There are always steps you could take to turn your business up and keep you afloat. Some of them may hurt and most of them have to be done decisively and immediately, but like quickly pulling off a band aid, they are more beneficial than harmful in the long run.

Kendall SummerHawk’s article What Would You Do? How to Prepare Your Business for Economic Downturn gives us four of these measures.

Clean Out the Dead Wood

In simpler terms, this is sifting. You need to take a closer look at your staff to find out who pulls their own weight and is worth keeping, as well as who drags their feet and need to be let go. In a way, you are forced to face what you should have been doing all along. That is, to make sure that your staff is made up of people who are hardworking and have the best interests of the company at heart. The rest are just dead wood that would cause you to sink faster if you don’t let them drift away soon enough. (Whew, there’s quite a bit of nautical jargon in there isn’t there? <g>)

Look For the Opportunities

To be ahead from the rest, you always have to keep an eye out for new opportunities. Gone are the days when just you let the opportunity come to you. These times, you have to be more proactive. It is more convenient and beneficial if you search for opportunities yourself. Since you know what you can do, you can decide where you want to take your business next and how you’ll go about it.

Unify the Heart, Mind and Soul of Your Team

During times of distress, we find out what our true characters are. We also tend to develop closer relationships with those around us who are going through the same experiences. Instead of causing fear and panic amongst your team, try to develop an activity which you could all focus on and benefit from. The smoother the relationship is between your team, the closer they are to each other and the deeper they know each others’ work habits, the better oiled their working relationships and processes will be. In addition, there will even be enough room for personal growth for each of them. Doesn’t that sound nice and productive? <g>      

Count and Celebrate Every Penny

These times, it pays to focus on the present. Forget about how much you lost or gained in the past. Instead, count all the victories you achieve – even down to the littlest of things. This way, you’ll get to appreciate everything more and there will be additional reasons to celebrate and be motivated into doing better.

Brave The Situation

Michiel Van Kets’ article Economic Changes & Your Small Business touches on a very similar subject as Kendall SummerHawk’s article did. This time, however, he focused more on the effects of economic changes in small businesses and how they could survive such changes.

Being Small Makes A Big Difference

When you’re a small business, it’s easier to see all aspects involving the business. Compared to large companies, there are bigger chances of assessing situations – such as what works and what doesn’t – more clearly and quickly. Since you’re also a smaller company, any changes you need to make are easier to implement and perhaps, even less costly if you’re lucky. <g>

Take Care of Your Loyal Supporters

Give the best service you can offer to your existing customers. You don’t have to stop searching for new clients, but sometimes, taking care of your old ones may be the best track to take, especially when you have limited resources that are already stretched too thin. This way, the customers you had before and during down times will most probably still be your customers when things start to look up. You have to admit, it promotes security and stability too, which is a big deal in struggling times if you ask me. <g>

Utilize Available Technology

There are plenty of technologies that could make your life easier and give you more time to focus on more important things, like taking care of your customers’ needs and possibly even finding new ones. The trick is finding the cheapest (maybe even free <g>) and most user-friendly technology available out there that would fit your business and what you need it to do for you.

If you deal with equipment, make sure you take care of them too. If repairs are needed, you can do a triage and fix as many of them as you could. Keep in mind that total loss of materials is more expensive than constant maintenance. Even worse, they could even lead to your company losing much needed resources.

Know Where to Make The Cut

There may come a time when you need to let a few people go, and count on them to be contractors for your company instead. Be careful in doing such moves for you do not want to let go of someone you might need later on. Try not to upset the balance of the staff as much as possible, since this particular measure can cause low morale, disinterest and even distrust among your people. Take extra care of how you break out such news to your staff. Let them know that you appreciate them very much, but have them understand that this is the last resort you could possibly try to salvage your business. It may be hard and painful to let people you’ve trusted go, but at times, the needs of the company must come first if you truly want to survive the situation.   

In times of distress, dare to show your true courage. Keep in mind that there are always measures you can take to save your business. With the help of your talents, skills and everyone who supports you, face your fears and problems and utilize everything in your power to rise above the situation.

As they say, it’s not over until the fat lady sings. So, get ahead and make sure she doesn’t even get to go on stage. <g> You may not control the economy or the other elements that affect your business, but you can control how you are going to run it and keep it alive no matter the economic condition.

Do you have other tips on how a business could survive economic changes? Share your thoughts with us by writing on the comments section below.

Until next time!