When the going gets tough, the tough get going. After all, it’s easy to excel at leadership when all is right with the world. The real test occurs when times get rough. Right now, the visionaries among us are engaged in a dual strategy. On the one hand, they’re looking inward to shore up their businesses internally. On the other, they’re looking outward, pouncing on opportunities created by the economic downturn. If you’re not doing so already, take these steps.
1. Monitor cash flow
Cash is king, now more than ever. Make sure your lines of credit are adequate, and pay extra attention to cash-flow projections.
2. Perform a swot analysis
Know thyself. If you are aware of flaws in any areas of your business, remedy them now. They make you vulnerable. Similarly, find new ways to capitalise on your strengths.
3. Rethink your sales strategy
Identify your most profitable products or services, and focus your sales efforts accordingly.
4. Improve work processes
If there are excess costs in your workflow, squeeze them out, so your business runs as efficiently as possible.
5. Increase throughput
Instead of turning small accounts away, find ways to accommodate them. If you can shorten lead and set-up times without compromising work flow, do so.
6. Ramp up marketing efforts
What’s the first thing many firms do to tighten their belts? The exact worst thing: cut back on marketing. Research proves that companies that maintain marketing activity during soft economies reap greater benefits later.
7. Review your compensation
You need to get the most from your workforce now. Put performance measurements in place and link compensation to performance. Think creatively: Can you lower base salaries while increasing results-driven bonuses?
8. Create strategic alliances
Forming simple partnerships can save you money. Consider rent sharing and equipment sharing as ways to reduce expenses.
9. Target competitors’ customers
If one of your competitors is struggling, reach out to its known customers. If those customers sense a decline in quality or fear a service disruption, they may be receptive to your pitch.
10. Upgrade personnel
There are many talented people looking for work right now. If you’ve been muddling along with mediocre employees and you can’t bring their performance up to par, do the hard thing and make some changes.