Getting Back to Basics

Sometimes, it pays to change your business for the sake of change. At other times, you have to change your business because the market tells you to. And if you don’t change, you’re dead.

Like it or not, we are living in those times. Market forces worldwide are causing a whirlwind of creative destruction for businesses and their owners. The question is, how will you react to our current economic circumstances, and how can you make the money you will need to survive?

So, how can you gain some clarity for your business amid all the media noise and pessimism?

First, you must realise that the needs of your customers and your market are different than those needs were a year ago, or even six months ago. Simply put, you will have to adapt to those different needs and change your business in the direction of meeting those needs, in order to survive. The new vision for your business should be highly focused and scaled to what your customers truly want. In these times, success will not necessarily be based on what you want to offer, but rather what the market is telling you to offer.

You will also need to put an extreme focus on profitability. This may mean scaling back your plans for 20 locations nationwide, to ten locations that run on higher profit margins. Now is not necessarily the time to overstretch. In fact, doing so and getting caught short of cash and/or human capital, is death for any business.

A laser-like focus on profit and operations will pay off big during the next economic spring. Not only will you be better positioned financially than your competition, you will also develop the discipline to stay close to your core business.

While other companies will use the next boom to chase after any market or sell any product, your efforts now to pare down and narrow your focus, will keep you from making the same mistakes in the future.

In addition to a changed mindset and business focus, you will need to commit to marketing at every level of your business. This does not mean buying high priced advertisements in newspapers or on TV. It means creating a marketing and sales-orientated culture that runs your business. Consider everything from how your team answers the phone, to how they greet customers and guide them through the sales process, to developing a solid customer database.

While I am sure you have heard all of this before, you would be amazed how many owners do not do the simplest things that could make them successful. For instance, only about seven per cent of all business owners know what their breakeven is on a given day, let alone over the course of a month or year.

Do you know yours? Isn’t it time you found out?

Focus, marketing mastery and numbers mastery will be crucial if you want to ride out this downturn. Put another way, it is not your competition that is forcing the game this time. It is the market, and although the market’s judgment is harsh, in my experience it is always fair.

You simply cannot run a successful company without profit and without systemized ways to grow your customer base and keep them coming back.

Right now, the world’s economic stage is being set up for the next big boom. When will it happen? Who knows? The point is that now is the time to get your own basics right so when the economic recovery hits full swing, you will be ready to capture even greater profits and success. So start now and take the next few days to develop a new vision and plan for your company based on what your company customers and the market, is telling you.

That feedback could be the foundation for some of the best (and most profitable) decisions you could ever make for your company.

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