There's a saying - "If you're not moving forward, you are falling behind" - true because at any one time, someone is working toward moving themselves forward. Now, more than ever, small business owners need to make sure they are leading the competition by constatnly evaluating and reacting to current circumstances, while planning for the future. A huge thank you to David Halpern of The Alternative Board for the following tips! And while these seven tactics below don’t define everything youneed to do to succeed in today's environment and poise yourself for the rebound, but if you execute all seven, you’ll be positioned to outrunthe others who are in front of the bear with you.
Plan. If you don’t have a written business plan, start writing one now. The planning process will force you to think through the strengths and weaknesses of your business, and identify theopportunities and threats that could vastly improve or damage your company.Luck is preparation meeting opportunity, and volatile times offer the chance ofexperiencing great luck.
Manage to the profit line. Ingood times, we get lazy. Revenues go up 15%, profits increase 10%, and we are happy. Tough times call for a ruthless focus on profitability. Decide that afailure to make an appropriate return is just not an option, and be relentless in your commitment to it.
Build a top grading structure.The New York/New Jersey metro area has many out of work people. Identify theideal skills you want in a better employee. Mentally inventory your currentstaff for weak links that need to be replaced. Clearly define positions and duties so new hires can be integrated quickly. Make sure that your company is visible to job seeking candidates.
Keep your powder dry. Cash is your primary resource in a downturn. It gives you the power and flexibility to grab opportunities and survive disasters. Hoard cash; the more, the better.
Know your numbers. If you haven’t defined Key Performance Indicators, do it now. Know which factors mean the most to your success and stay on top of them.
Increase your horizon. What are the leading indicators for your business? What is happening todaythat will impact your business three, six or twelve months down the road? The Internet allows you access to unlimited information. Find where your leading indicators reside and bookmark it for frequent reference, and thenvisit it often.
Monitor your competitors.Competition heats up in times of scarcity. Some of your rivals will changetheir tactics, and could surprise you. Others are weak and can be acquired oreliminated all together, with a little push at the right time. Have regularconversations with your customers and vendors about what they see the competitiondoing. Train your employees to watch events in the field and report back to you.