How do you temper caution with courage to drive your company forward during an economic downturn?
Follow these 10 steps to makeover your business in a recession:
1. Vision – you must plan for your company’s future. Most business owners are focusing on making it through 2009, but that’s not enough.
Your business vision should be broken into three phases: 1) the next 18 months; 2) the next three years; and 3) the next 5 years. That adds up to 9.8 years of vision.
2. Strategy – the biggest problem business owners will encounter in this recession is that we have a tendency to become tactical animals and forget about the strategy behind it. Strategy is about planning, tactics are about execution. What strategic plan do you have to achieve your 9.8 years of vision? Present that plan to your employees and put 90-day benchmarks in place to make sure you are on track.
3. Initiative – this is about making things happen, not just wishing and hoping it will get better. You must instill the “make things happen” gene within your organization. Teach your people to make an impact. What can they do both strategically and tactically to act courageously in this economy? This may mean conducting Friday afternoon brainstorming sessions to test ideas.
4. GPS – We all use GPS systems in our cars, but are you using one for your business? Your GPS tells you where you are and where you should be going. Make sure it is pointing toward success.
5. Knowledge – Continuous education should be a mandatory behavior at all levels of your company. Many business owners have turned off their desire for learning until the economy gets better. Now is the time to invest in your business, expand your knowledge base and make sure you are using all of the best practices available to you.
6. Guts – You need to have the courage to do what it takes to be successful. Stop using “if only” statements, and act on your beliefs and the behaviors you must exhibit to be successful. Think about how you will demonstrate to your staff that you have the guts to drive the business forward.
7. Growth – The biggest challenge in this economy will be to achieve continued growth and ward off business losses. In order to do that, you must first understand:
* Who your sales targets are?
* How many do you need to close on a monthly basis?
* What does your sales template look like?
* What are the top 10 behaviors your employees need to demonstrate in order to grow the business?
Every person in the company should commit to a dollar figure they want to earn in 2009 and back that up with the behaviors necessary to accomplish that income.
8. Image – This is not the time to start discounting and stop marketing. The image you project in 2015 will stay with you for years afterward. Keep your image strong.
9. Leverage – Develop a list of what you can leverage to grow your business. In this economy, most business owners stop looking at all of the various things they can leverage and turn only to price. Develop a list of what you can leverage from your product, service and marketing standpoint.
10. Fear – Business owners must learn how to deal with their own fears about this economy and teach their employees how to do the same. Most fear is made up – it resides in the future and the past, not the present.
Business can no longer be focused on waiting for the storm to pass. They must refocus all of their energy on learning to dance in the rain.
By Leslie Neal