1. Re-examine your business plan and re-check your business fundamentals. Many business leaders measure their success by how hard they work and whether there is enough money to cover payroll. That’s not enough, particularly in tough times. You have to have a basic plan and a plan that is working. A plan that is known and understood throughout the company. Re-examine it and make certain that it is built on the right fundamentals. You may be surprised at the opportunities that will be presented. Talk to your customers. They are probably hurting too and want your attention and leadership. They will remember you when things turn around
2. Focus on the short term. By focusing on business in the short term, there will be far less concern over the long term. Do what it takes to remain profitable. Negative numbers become an excuse for almost anything and you will not only lose focus, but you will lose more business. You know what has to be done. This time make sure that you actually do it.
3. Focus on leading your team. Re-examine your inner circle and make sure that they are the right people and have the talents and tools to make things happen. Delegate duties so you can do what you do best. This strategy might require an extensive role change, but will help to obtain more control for the future success of the company.
4. Focus on what is vital today. Cut what is non-core. Invest in what is. Identify your core competencies and build on them. Know who and what you are and be that. The one caveat is to keep the investment in R&D. That is the lifeline to the future. But make certain that your projects are focused and tightly controlled. Do the same for your sales force. Keep your producers, lose your losers.
5. Develop and use reporting systems daily. Key company goals should be monitored daily and weekly, rather than monthly. Plans cannot be implemented without reporting systems that track critical numbers. A daily review helps to measure and clarify where company efforts need to be enhanced, as well as holds each employee accountable for performance.
6. Control costs. This is different than just cutting costs as in number 4 above. This is making sure that you do what is important and do it most cost effectively. Find new and different ways to achieve the results at lower costs. Many businesses just cut. This causes revenue problems now and in the future. Simplify something. It will help cut costs. Complexity equals expense. Look outside for good partners both as alliances and suppliers. Leverage relationships to save money or make money. Look for technology based efficiency. Use the Web to cut costs and boost productivity.
7. Offer incentives to key business drivers. All employees have the ability to drive or stall the business. Make them “owners”. Create incentives that drive to the goals you have set. These should contribute to both the profitability and mission of the company and be tied to specific measurables that each employee has control over.
8. Hold a daily management meeting. A daily meeting creates the intensity and focus needed for business owners to identify problems and issues, before they get out of control. You can motivate, direct and reward.
9. Play to win. Don’t just play to survive, despite the negative atmosphere in the market. If you follow these guidelines, chances are that you will be able to win now and even more so when the market changes to be more positive. Play to win.
10. Get some help. Invest in someone short term who can help you navigate through these tough times and keep your business profitable. Hire a good consultant. Their experience and objectivity can show you ways to accelerate your positive business progress. The ROI can be astounding.
Maver Management Group