For business owners, running a successful business is often challenging enough, but for many succeeding in business in tough times becomes even harder. What makes the difference between why businesses succeed and fail, particularly in a tough economic environment? Managing through difficult times is an uphill struggle for sure. However, there is good news: there are a few simple measures you can implement to improve the probability that your business will succeed even when the going gets tough.
Often the factors that lead to success in a business come down to some basic but fundamental principles of business management. Implementing these four tips could make the difference between why businesses succeed and fail when the economic environment takes a downward turn.
Contact your key customers and ask them how their business is faring. Meet regularly with high-value customers and offer your support. Understanding their situation means you will be better informed about what you can do to assist them and thus protect and potentially grow your business’ revenue. To grow your own revenue, invest in new innovative (low cost) sales strategies, increase (low cost) sales and marketing programs and show leadership by spending more time with your customers and sales team.
A reduction in revenue and/or profit means you will need to examine your cost structure to maintain your profitability. Be prepared to make some hard decisions. Low fixed and high variable cost is the ideal cost structure for doing business in tough times.
Non Trading Costs – try to reduce or eliminate non-trading costs. For example, examine wage productivity reports and restructure non-productive roles or encourage multi-skilling to maximise your employee return per hour. Staff reduction is not necessarily a given in tough times!
Variable Costs – examine all your expenses and investigate ways to transfer your business’s fixed costs to variable costs. Outsourcing is a variable cost strategy.
Collecting cash from your customers may become more difficult. Avoid business cash flow problems and consider amending your policies for debtor collection and stock management.
Debtors Collection: place tighter limits on the amount of credit you extend to your customers. If you have exposure to large customers, seek assurances and guarantees on how they will pay their account. Enter repayment schedules and offer ‘cash only’ terms until your customer accounts are in order. If the decision is between being flexible and survival there is really only one choice.
Stock Management: don’t over-invest in stock. Place strict controls over stock ordering and management. If customer sales slow down so should your ordering.
When looking at why businesses succeed and fail in difficult times, it is important you move quickly to minimise your business risk. The first step is to re-examine or develop a new Business Strategy or Plan to review and assess your current situation and plan the future. When preparing your Business Strategic Plan seek guidance from your accountant who is best positioned to provide this advice. Seeking advice early will mean the difference between your business thriving or simply surviving.
The team at MGI South Queensland have helped many businesses not only survive but thrive through difficult times. We have business coaches as well as experts in tax and risk management. Our outsourced CFO and financial management service gives you access to specialist support who can help you improve your financial procedures and improve your bottom line. Give us a call on 07 3002 4800 or book a consultation online today.
Disclaimer: this information is of a general nature and should not be viewed as representing financial advice. Readers of this information are encouraged to seek further advice if they are unclear as to the meaning of anything contained in this article. MGI accepts no responsibility for any loss suffered as a result of any party using or relying on this article.
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