During good times in ancient China, surplus food and wealth was stored in great strong houses to provide succour for future famines and droughts. Are you one of many business people left wondering what will happen next, now that the Celtic Tiger has passed on and the winter of recession and customers with tight wallets is upon us?
If you want to know 7 key business survival techniques, which should be applied to any business who wants to be around next year, then read the rest of this article now.
Read 7 Golden Rules for Recession Survival here.
Many business owners are now painfully aware that getting new clients and selling more to existing clients is far more challenging in today’s environment. Unfortunately anyone who tells you that they have a quick fix for your marketing worries is either a magician or a con-man!
Just because we have been working with businesses for years now, doesn’t mean that what always worked will work today. We have had to radically adapt the strategies that our best customers use, so that they can continue to get resounding, measurable results using field tested strategies and marketing plans.
So here are 7 Golden Rules, that if you start to apply now, could not only ensure your survival, they could actually signal some serious growth.
1. Assess Your Sales: If you have one or more sales people it makes sense to know what they are doing well, so that you can create repeatable success. Now is not the time to waste valuable sales time on things that are wasteful and don’t work. Take stock today, and either assess your sales department and processes or ask a trusted advisor like 3R to do it for you.
2. Assess Your Margins: Everyone should know their most profitable lines. But do you know which products consistently sell well, with great margins and to which type of customer they sell to? After Cash, Profit should drive your business forward. Remember it also drives your clients as well!
3. Assess Your Marketing: So where have you spent your marketing budget over the last 12-24 months? Do you know precisely what worked, and what return you got for every Euro spent by campaign? Now that times are tougher, rather than cutting out marketing, trim the fat from the marketing that doesn’t work and focus on what does. You first must take stock of where you are.
4. Monitor Your Cash-Flow: Most companies in today’s climate will leave their bills till the very last minute before paying them, if at all! So what policies do you have in place to ensure you have enough working capital? Today is the best time to take a long hard look at your cash position and forecast, because without adequate liquidity, you may fail to be around to take advantage of the huge opportunities that recessions offer to the well prepared.
5. Create a Strategic Plan: The rules of the game have changed, so have you prepared for how you will play the new game? The old saying “failing to plan is planning to fail” holds truer than ever in today’s turbulent economy. Once you have taken stock, through honest, and possibly external professional assistance, you need to craft a plan to steer you though the current storm.
6. Survey Your Clients: OK, so you have taken stock and assessed what you feel you need to do – now go check it out in the marketplace, with people who have trusted you in the past: your customers. As well as double checking you plan, if done the correct way, you will uncover cross-sell opportunities as well as obtaining testimonials and referrals.
7. Execute and Monitor your Plan: A vision, without corresponding action is a mirage! Now take action and measure everything you do, as you will make mistakes. These mistakes only become failures, however, if you fail to learn from them!
What we have touched upon here are some vital ingredients for continued survival. Each company is unique, as are your customers, and how you apply these, with or without professional help, will vary depending on your circumstances.
Banks will not tolerate late payments or missed repayments of loans and for companies that find themselves in cash-flow difficulty, the only solution, other than going under is to seek professional help that the bank will approve of.
If you are interested in how 3R can help you with your banks, and you feel that our proven track record of success with our clients will also serve you well, just fill out our Business Health Check form. A 30 minute call, will signal if we think we can help you not just survive, but perhaps grow as well.
This article was written by Peter Lawless of 3R sales and Marketing. The 7 Golden Rules are steps taken from the 3R? Success Framework, which have been used successfully with small and medium sized businesses for years, helping them survive and grow.