Review your business’s strategy. Does it make sense? Can it be executed? Is it too “pie in the sky?” How does it address your markets and your businesss core strengths? A clear strategic plan is the basis for success in good times and in bad times. Look at the big picture and determine the strategies needed to be set in place for success.
The best strategic and business plans are worthless without execution and metrics. Do you have metrics in place to measure performance against financial AND operational targets (objectives)? Which objectives are hitting the mark and which are not? Why? Who is accountable? What is being done to address the weak areas of performance? A business is only as strong as its weakest employee.
During a questionable or stalled economy it seems as if businesses of all sizes are quick to put customers (those who pay the bills) last. This is a definite no-no! It is time to re-evaluate what the business is doing to delight customers and prove that they come first. Customers are the companys best asset and it costs much less to keep existing customers happy than to find new ones. No matter what the business product or service offered, customers have choices. Take the steps necessary to make your business their FIRST choice. Ask THEM if their needs are being met and what improvements can be made within the company or organization to keep them satisfied and wanting to come back.
Cost and Expense
Businesses are quick to cut expenses and people when there is softness in the economy. This is so easy, that even a child with a lemonade stand can do it. But it is often NOT the right answer. First look at where resources are deployed. Most resources should be involved in driving revenue and overall customer satisfaction. Keep your overhead costs to a minimum and watch your bottom line expenses. If that means redeploying and retraining, then it should be done. Secondly, before there are lay offs cut the outside contractors and consultants and perform what you can in-house. Also, cut salaries and bonuses at the top of the organization first. The biggest cuts should be among the biggest bosses (not the customer) facing employees and sales force. Finally, ask for input, the people on the floor and in the back office usually know where the biggest opportunities for REAL efficiencies exist. Ask them, and when you do, be sure to act on their recommendations and recognize them for their ideas.
I am amazed by what the USA did to mobilize resources in a very short time during World War II on the home front. Factories went from making automobiles and refrigerators to making military tanks and aircraft in huge quantities in an amazingly short time period. Imagine what it would have been like if they had had computers. So why does everything (except perhaps the Internet) take so long today? The time frames required to develop new products and services are often years rather than months. Look at timelines required in your business today and cut them by 25% to 50% while maintaining the same level of quality if not better. It can be done and this will definitely be a competitive advantage for your business.
For example our company determined how to quick turn our design and graphics production timelines without sacrificing the final product or service. We implemented our philosophy to under commit and over deliver, and actually did it! We analyzed how much time was needed for all types of production and cut it down by 25%. Once successful, we then took another approach and cut the time down again, still delivering the same quality product and excellent service to our customers while maintaining our quality of assurance systems in place.
It is a natural tendency of most businesses, no matter what size, to take fewer risks when times are lean and mean. This includes new and innovative ideas for products, services, marketing and the way business is done. The BEST time for risk taking and innovation is when the economy is challenging and other businesses are cutting back. While most businesses are tightening their belt, businesses that take risks and push innovation stand out among their competition. Innovation is not limited to research, development or marketing. It should encompass all functions and aspects of any business that show others that you have what it takes to survive and are taking the risk that most businesses wish they could. Either step forward into growth or step back into safety.
Terms such as flat, downturn, recession, and stalled economy drive chills through most business people at any level. Money is tighter and market opportunities shrink, but there are winners and losers in both good and not so good economies. By addressing these areas of strategy, execution, customers, cost and expense, speed and innovation, any company (regardless of size, market or industry) can be a winner during recession. It is all about being an effective leader in an economy where there is doubt about the future.
Correct management is definitely the key for a business to survive crises like the current economic climate. In order to execute correct business management, several strategies need to be observed, executed and measured. Businesses must smarten up, market, manage their people, and follow their vision.