These days the newspaper and news magazine headlines are filled with stories of economic downturns, financial losses and layoffs. The banks have all but stopped lending. Mergers and acquisitions abound. What’s a woman business owner to do during tough economic times?
Even if you’ve experienced losses there things you can do to position your firm for future growth. Business owners everywhere are hunkering down to weather the storm and so should you. Here are my four suggestions for getting through tough economic times:
Get Back to Basics
In order to remain competitive, we’ve all had to invest in new products and services. New development can be timely and costly. So when times are tough, it might help to get back to basics. Take a look at the core capabilities that made your firm a success and have brought the most value. (Notice I said value and not revenue. For example, if your product sales are great but the customers that buy are an administrative nightmare, you need to consider the cost of maintaining the customers in order to determine real value). Are there services you used to offer but stopped because you were focused on a new service? For those products and services that represent strong revenue dollars and high value, consider bringing them back.
Get “Shovel Ready”
Got any new ideas? The Obama administration promises to focus spending on products and services that will help to stimulate economic growth and get folks back to work. According to USA Today, “shovel ready” projects are those that help to rebuild roads, make buildings energy efficient, modernize schools and upgrade hospital technology. Create a plan for implementing that new health care technology solution, making your product “green” or aligning your existing service to make buildings more efficient. Everyone will be jumping on the Obama bandwagon so consider creative ways to differentiate you from the competition. Join the ranks of those who have “shovel ready” projects just waiting for the right timing and some funding.
Now is a perfect time to meet with your accountant, banker, broker and financial advisor. Have the accountant examine your expenses and see where you might be able to trim excess. A quick review of our books revealed the need for a change in our 401k plan that will save thousands this year. Find out what you need to do to position your firm for growth financing should that “shovel ready” project come through. If you haven’t already, have your broker review your insurance coverages to see if you have all you need or can get better pricing based.
There’s a tax service whose byline is “I got people”. Well, so do you. Your employees, vendors and customers are a good source of information regarding ways for you to increase efficiency, eliminate wasteful practices, reduce costs, identify customer pains and evaluate company programs. All you need do is ask. You might be surprised to hear what they have to say.
You’ve got a business to run, employees to manage and money to make, so get to it!