The recession, financial crisis, turmoil in consumer confidence, credit restrictions and a host of other factors have caused companies, all companies, to review their use of their resources, both human capital and financial. Some companies didn’t make it and are out of business and some of these are major corporations, not just the little guys. Many companies have been forced to restructure completely. You and I, the US tax payers, own some large financial institutions. All companies have cut back on expenditures, many to the detriment of their future.
Faced with rising expenses, companies often focus on cost cutting initiatives. Companies dealt with this issue as their business models became more complex, and operations weren't experiencing any efficiency gains. But as many cut costs, profits suffered because of service and reliability issues. Customers became dissatisfied, with some even pulling their business altogether.
It is now time to stop cost cutting and to start building your business. The economy is starting to turn and you have to be ready to capitalize on it or once again you will be faced with the “Out of Business” sign on your door as your competition enjoys success.
By now if you haven’t already made the appropriate cost cuts and are down to the bare bones operating plan, you are probably out of business already. So start to turn your eyes upward. You need some turnaround help.
While the best plan is to bring us in and let us assist you, here are some tips if you are going to try to do this yourself. (You know there is a reason that the TV dramatizations always say “These are professionals. Don’t try this yourself.”)
Start with the Business Plan
If you don’t have a solid written business plan, get one! This above all else is the most critical step in not only staying alive but being able to grow. If you don’t know where you are going or how to get their, almost every road will bring disaster. You can’t afford disasters after the cost cutting you have done and the frail structure that remains.
Confirm your Core Competencies
In the market today, you may need to redefine your core competencies so they are relevant. It is on these core competencies that you will build your growth plans. These are your strategic planks that can lead to growth. They must be based off an in depth analysis of both internal and external factors. This is more than just a simple SWOT analysis. It looks at all aspects of your environment.
Stay Focused on Growth
Do not let your organization fall back into the cost cutting mode or the pure rebuilding mode. Profitable growth is your goal. Successful companies need to strike a balance between managing costs and fostering growth. While the focus has to be on growth, you can’t ignore the need for increased efficiency in your operations. Doing more with less is the constant pressure and that really means operating smarter. Never become so focused on controlling costs that growth and customer service is sacrificed. Growing your business is what provides long-term opportunity for increasing revenue and expanding market share.
Reassess market Needs of Your Clients and Customers
Do some research to understand how they are operating TODAY. Things have changed for them as well. Once you clearly understand their needs, you can adapt your products and services to best meet those needs. Simplistic as it sounds, if you want to find out what they need, ask them. They will tell you and appreciate the effort you are making to really understand them.
Make Marketing a Critical Element in Your Business Model.
Marketing is much more than just providing marcom materials. It starts with positioning the company/brand in the mind of the purchaser so that you are the first though when they are thinking about your market space and it enables you to receive higher margins for your products or services. It then builds on that positioning to create the right plans that keep your name in front of your target audience at the most opportune time.
Capitalize on Technology
With the rapid development of new technology there are many opportunities. This can be in automating processes and simplifying the reporting and measuring of progress. But it also can mean new ways of reaching clients. Social media is now a common way of life. It enables you to not only reach your clients and customers but also to have them reach you and to have a dialog. The social networking strategic and implementation company we us is Thought Labs (www.thoughtlabs.com).
Don’t Cut Sales – Upgrade It!
This is your revenue generating function. Measure them on results and not activity. We see so many companies that measure activity, see no results and them cut the function for cost reasons. Bad choices. Set the sales goals and hold the sales force to them. Give them the tools to be successful, including the senior executive support.
Evaluate Current Processes and Streamline Business Activities
To maximize growth and income opportunity, a company needs to carefully evaluate the existing processes. Consider how operation functions are carried out. This provides opportunity to identify and eliminate wasteful practices. Look for ways to simplify. Develop a common platform for your products to avoid unnecessary duplication. Once you have examined which areas need improvement, you can focus on streamlining current processes. Identify steps that don't add value and look for duplicate activities.
As we said in the beginning of this article, now is the time to stop cost cutting and start building your business. Don’t do this on your own. Get some professional help. Contact us.
Maver Management Group