Tag Archives: business growth strategies

Getting Back in the Game

Around this time of year, business owners are knee deep in summer fun (and they should be because they work hard). There are times when you have to take a break, recharge, and begin to plan for the future. It’s a proven fact that when you change your exterior surroundings and activities, your mind gets renewed!

Chris Ruisi Leadership Quote Business PlanningThe dilemma that many face is when they’re ready to “get back in the game”, they ask themselves, “Where do I start and what do I do first?” In most cases, they have no clear answer or path. The result: they waste valuable time and money doing the wrong things. Here is a list of steps that a business owner or leader can take to get the momentum going in the right direction to plan for their future and build a stronger business.
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Holy _ _ _ _! Can This Economy Get Any Worse?

This is a question that is being asked more and more frequently by business leaders and business owners. The answer is simple. Nobody really knows. For every down projection, there is always someone looking for any silver lining they can find. Let’s look at some of the recent business headlines that have led to the question being at the forefront of everyone’s mind: (1) A recent poll had 40% of all Americans starting to believe that we are in a permanent downward spiral; (2) Job creation is taking painfully too long. The jobs report on Friday, July 8th was a killer; (3) Unemployment just increased to 9.2% – the third increase in as many months; (4) Wall Street firms have begun to lay off employees and while layoffs have slowed in other industries, they are not hiring and (5) A number of economists believe that the debt/deficit crisis is actually worse than it appears for two reasons: First, we are in a historically low interest rate scenario. When rates do go up – and they will – the interest costs to service our nation’s debt will go up adding to the debt crisis. Secondly, there is a growing concern that the growth projections used by the Obama administration in their budgeting are unrealistically too high

Depressed yet? Feel like giving up? Better not. Now is not the time to be a quitter. Now is the time to be stepping it up (you know my battle cry – Be Fearless; Step and Play Big).

 

So, is the economy getting worse? Who knows? What I do know is that there are steps you can take to position you and your business to “ride it out” and, at the same time, take advantage of the opportunities that come with every crisis. The foundation of the strategies I will share with you is simple – start questioning the “status quo”. Accept nothing as “usual”. You might be thinking – sure Chris this sounds good but nothing can be done. Really; nothing can be done? Or, you just don’t want to try. Be honest with yourself. Think about this – famous golfer Arnold Palmer once said “the most rewarding things in life (and in business) are often the ones that look like they cannot be done”. Here are the steps that you need to take – things that you can and should do – to minimize your risk to the worst case scenario:

  1. Validate your cash needs for the balance of the year; update your budget/plan and stick with it. If you don’t have a budget, you are living on the edge already. Enough said!
  2. Where possible clean up and reduce your debt. Clean up your accounts receivables. Stop accepting every excuse why people will not pay you on a timely basis. Stop being the bank for these deadbeats! Not only do they have your money but they are costing you more money and grief while you wait to get paid. Get cash in the door – now!
  3. Fine tune your marketing message and what makes you different. Downturns can be an excellent opportunity to build market share as other either hide or fail. But your message has to be clear and mean something to your buyers.
  4. Re-validate your lead generation strategies to make sure you are spending your available time and money marketing in the right places – you know those places where your ideal customer may show up. Stop! Did you hear me? Stop right now going to some of those useless networking events. I call them “lonely hearts clubs” – everyone has their own story as to why things just are not that good. But no one has the courage to do something about it. Except you. If you follow my advice. Right?
  5. Get closer to your existing customers – the better ones. They will be your key to your continued viability during any prolonged downturn. Look to their past buying patterns and be there to suggest re-orders; purchases of other complimentary products you offer – you know cross selling; up-selling and to solicit referrals. On the subject of referrals – you are not getting enough good ones. Why? You are probably not asking the right way. You have to do something about referrals right now! I use a proven process with all of my coaching clients.
  6. Train your employees to understand your brand; what you do and how it benefits your customers. Here’s where you now think “come on Chris they know what we do”. Yeah! You think so! Set expectations on how they should perform internally and with your customers. Train them, I mean really train them. I have a very simple but yet effective approach that I use with my clients that outlines the right way to train your team. Your employees can destroy you’re your customer base just by accident. Are you willing to take that risk and the consequences if you are wrong?
  7. Set up a system that allows you to get the best ideas and feedback from your employees about how to improve the way you do business. Create a culture in your business that encourages your employees to solve problems and identify solutions.
  8. Make sure that all of your programs, systems and procedures, where applicable, are responsive to your customers needs. You want to make certain that your business consistently offers your customers a friendly; hassle free experience.
  9. Your job as the leader is to focus on only those priorities that will make a difference. Get it?
  10. Read the first 9 again. Make a copy and hang it in your office. Make another copy and keep it on your desk. Make a third copy and begin to discuss it with your team, soliciting their suggestions.

Like I said before, now is not the time to give up; slow down or hide until the economic storm passes. As a business leader or owner, you have already successfully faced adversity in the past. Americans, by our very nature, do not give up. We have learned to face adversity head on and find ways to successfully push through it. It is our “will to win” that drives us. So, you have what it takes. Take your “will to win” out for a drive. Push the “pedal to the metal” and drive right towards your goals. You will need every bit of your perseverance and self disciple to maintain control and focus on your journey. Success can be yours, if you want it and be that person who will do the right things to achieve it.

So, what do you do now? Put a plan into action and go for it. Contact me to help get you started and provide you the guidance and feedback that will make the journey easier.