Coping with tough times……
We have all heard the expression – “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Well, for many businesses out there at present, times are certainly tough and the prognosis is for more hurt to come before things improve appreciably.
So if you run or manage a small business what can you do to improve things or “batten down the hatches”. Whilst many things are industry specific, consider the following and see if you can revisit the following areas:
1. Sharpen up on your attention to detail. Do what you do well and make it one of your key points of difference.
2. Review your overhead spending. Get more ruthless. Where appropriate considerkeeping less stock, replacing items less frequently, shop around for more options or better/more competitive quotes, do you need to lay off staff or consider part-timers or outsourcing. Talk to others and get ideas on alternative ways of doing things, talk to suppliers and explore possibilities of collaboration in order to save costs.
3. Review your terms of trade very carefully. Can you reduce the time for payment? e.g. can you make payments due in 14 days rather than the 20th of the following month? Can you get a deposit (or a larger deposit) up front? Is it possible to schedule payments over time by automatic payments or even post-dated cheques? Consider offering a discount for cash or in return for immediate payment – remember, cash is king.
4. Don’t worry about offending people – they will either pay or oblige or else you don’t really need them. This is about the survival of your business after all.
5. Get advice from trusted advisors and don’t be afraid to ask! Bank Managers, accountants, solicitors, mentors, coaches are all founts of knowledge and are happy to help. You will usually save much more than you spend.
Feel free to share your ideas with others!