The economy is showing signs of recovering. It may be a slow rebound but there are things you MUST be doing now to make sure you participate in the recovery when it comes.
I talk to many business owners who are either hunkered down themselves waiting for the economic ‘storm’ to blow over or they’re trying to sell their products or services to those who are hunkered down. Either way, not much is happening in the small business world. Even the executives I speak to in corporations are still being a bit cautious about the investments they’re making in people, products and services.
1. Improve systems
Now is the time to make sure your internal engine is running properly. Evaluate your sales, production, service delivery and administrative processes. Determine how well they are functioning. Do this even if you are the only person in your ‘company’. Ask yourself and your team if you have one where breakdowns happen. Who’s not getting the info they need? What’s taking too long to happen? What can be automated or streamlined? What needs to be documented so others can carry out the task when a transition occurs?
I helped one of my clients and his team eliminate the breakdowns between the office and field functions. Right after that, his business exploded. While we didn’t work directly on sales, he confided to me that if we hadn’t fixed his process breakdowns, they would have not been able to handle the onslaught of work and would have looked like “complete idiots”. Save yourself from that potential business-killing embarrassment.
Improving systems improves your profitability.
2. Improve you
When you’re trimming expenses, it’s tempting to cut training. Large and small companies often make the mistake of eliminating training when budgets are tight because the ROI on training seems slower and in some cases, hard to measure. Yet, It’s during times of trouble that you MUST make sure everyone is functioning at their optimal level…including you!
You and your staff are your company’s most valuable possession. You might have some trademarked or patented processes. But even still, you and your people are carrying them out. No people or ineffective people, no profits.
Times are changing. Even when the economy recovers, nothing will be quite the same again. Make sure you and your team are mentally ready with the skills and attitudes that will carry you through the next iteration of the global economy. Invest now and position yourself to trounce the competition.
3. Improve sales
When you do the first two things, it’s likely that your sales will increase on their own. However, here are a few tips for increasing sales even more. Get feedback from clients about what you’re offering them and they need now. Make sure you’ve adjusted to the current environment. Consider flexible payment terms. Cater to a different (hungrier or higher-income) crowd. Offer new products, programs and services. Talk to more people. If you’re not having a number of sales conversations every day, you’re leaving money on the table.
Focusing on these three simple steps will help position you well for the recovery. Don’t sit around moping. I’m sure you heard the phrase “God helps those who help themselves” when you were growing up. Implementing these steps is one way you can help yourself. Get to work!