By Michael Gunther
If you are in business today, you can count yourself a success; many local and national companies have had to close their doors. In the past 12 months, you’ve been faced with issues that most of us have never been faced with before, from shrinking markets to severe credit requirements to sharp revenue declines to employee fraud. Whether you resized your team, redesigned your business model, or returned to the very basics of building your business, congratulations, you’ve survived.
Now is the time to figure out how your business can thrive in the coming 12 months, while overcoming the few peaks and valleys we will still face in the marketplace. Here’s how you can start:
First, take a look back over the last 12 months and analyze what you’ve done right and how you can improve. Ask yourself and your employees the following questions:
- What changes have you made that worked?
- What changes do you wish you had made?
- What strategies did you employ that allowed you to survive the year?
Next, begin to look forward and establish at least three strategies to implement in your business this next year. I recommend looking at these three critical areas of your business, at a minimum:
If there is one thing businesses learned this last year it’s that we have to earn our customers’ business again. This means that creating solid business development processes is imperative to sustaining a healthy business. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Are there new marketing strategies that you can implement?
- Do you need to adjust your product or service mix?
- Is there a product or service that will be in high demand?
- Do you have a solid sales infrastructure to support your financial goals?
Even though you’ve probably been trimming costs over the last 12 months, I suggest that you reevaluate all of your expenses again and create a realistic 12-month financial forecast. I have seen some businesses create a best case and worst case scenario with their budgets and they manage their expenses at worst case and their sales at best case. One tip for trimming expenses is to meet with your vendors and renegotiate your pricing or terms.
Now is the opportunity for you to step up and be a strong business leader with an attitude of ‘thriving’ rather than ‘surviving.’ Challenge your team and yourself to be innovative in both growing and running your business. Your attitude will shape the attitude of your team and in turn will shape your business’ future. Remember: attitude impacts thoughts, thoughts impact behaviors. Keep your attitude in check.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Moving past survive into thrive mode will require you to step back and work ‘on’ your business and not just ‘in’ your business. Even if you identify just three new strategies to begin implementing, you will be ahead of the game.