With markets around the world verging on recession, there was never a better time to step back from your business and ask yourself some extremely important questions.
- Am I hoping things will get better later in the year?
- Do I hope all my debtors will pay me on time?
- Will the same number of customers walk in the door this year as they did last year?
- I plan to keep the same advertising that I used last year?
- I plan to save money by cutting back on advertising?
If you answered yes to some or all of the above questions, you may not HAVE a business to worry about next year.
The world has changed dramatically over the last 3 years and yes, it has certainly become a much tougher environment in which to operate a small to medium business. In fact, even the big guys are struggling, especially in the retail sector.
Of course we have all heard the Albert Einstien quote “the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
However change is very difficult to achieve. It is much easier to keep doing the same things that you have always done. Staff get set in their ways. They always grumble if you try to tell them to work harder, take on a new job, or to improve their efficiency.
But with tough times continuing, there is no time like NOW to take a step back from your business and consider where you want to be in 12 months and what actions you need to take to achieve those goals.
Ask yourself the following:
Do my customers love doing business with me? If not, why not. Aim to amaze your customers with your exceptional service every day.
Remember it is much more expensive to find a new customer than to look after your existing customers.
What do you do that loses you money? We are all guilty of supporting customers that at the end of the day don’t make a contribution to the bottom line. Either out their prices up or get rid of them. They are wasting your valuable time.
Speaking of putting your prices up, now is probably a great time to review prices and margins. You have probably absorbed product cost increases as well as increasing utilities, wages and everything else.
Never be scared of charging your customers a fair price. Those that complain the loudest are probably the ones you don’t need. If you do increase your prices, make sure that you also increase your service.
What is your staff training policy? Do you have a staff training policy? If your staff improve their skills then your business will also improve its performance. This will be evident throughout your business and is a great way to keep and motivate your staff.
Are your staff on your side? When you are finding business tough, it is easy to forget about how your staff feel. They need to understand that they have a vital role in the success of your business. Don’t scare them, but tell them the facts and get their input into your ideas for the future. If they feel they have had a say in the planning for the direction of the business, they will work harder to support you and your business plans.