1. Regularly review your strategy
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the today. You have to take a high-level view.
2. Make changes before they become critical
If your business is heading downwards, and you have to make changes, you will have to do it with paranoid, demoralise and probably resistant people. Make them before the critical point and people will be more likely to come with you.
3. Review costs line by line
It’s so easy to become complacent over cost control – really get into the detail.
4. Ask for help
Let your bank and your customers know where you are – that’s very important when times are tough.
5. You need luck – capitalise on it
Maximising your luck is vital in business. When a competitor goes bust or you unexpectedly win a tender – build on it.
6. Don’t get complacent
Every business goes through what we call the Change House.
There is the Renewal Room when sales are good, then the Contentment Room when the market starts to get saturated. That leads to the Denial Room when everyone defers the blame, then the Confusion Room when the business is in the mire and people start taking the wrong knee-jerk actions. At this stage, you need a strategic plan to get you out of the mess.
7. Talk to your people
Employees are not naive or stupid, so tell them the bad news as well as the good. As soon as business drops you need to tell them. Otherwise, they will talk about it among themselves and probably exaggerate the seriousness. If that’s the case, your best people, the very ones you need in the trenches, will look for an exit.
8. Keep close to your clients
Talk to them on a regular basis and look to introduce innovative processes that they will value.
9. Consolidate your labour
If you are down on sales and you haven’t laid anyone off yet don’t fall into the trap of letting your sales staff do four days’ work in five. Their natural reaction will be to slow down and reduce productivity. When times change it will be even more difficult to get that productivity and motivation back to previous levels. Ask people to take holiday leave or even give them a day’s unpaid holiday. It might even boost morale and keep productivity up.
10. Try to do longer deals with clients
Work with your clients to find deals that extend the relationship, but perhaps save them money in the long-run.
It’s not always about the money
To be successful, you need to find something in your job that gives you a sense of pride and achievement. Having fun is also important and an essential part of successful business.