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Warren Buffett once said this about economic downturns: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” If you run your business at the top of your game, you won’t have to worry so much about your level of exposure to the economic elements. Tim Northrup, author of Five Hidden Mistakes CEOs Make, and Joseph Cardamone, president of the United States Federation of Small Businesses, offer this sage advice:
Show me the money. Communicate expectations to customers and get paid on time. Consider offering a prepayment discount or incentive.
Tech savvy and cost savvy go hand in hand. Use Web-based accounting software to avoid paying an outside source and try video conferencing to save money by conducting your business meeting without leaving home.
Spruce up your site. A Web address is more important than a physical address. Make sure your website is current and sticky, encouraging viewers to stay awhile by refreshing content daily and going interactive with a blog.
Overanalyze. Examine your customers’ purchasing patterns to determine if you should shorten your inventory holding cycle to reduce costs, innovate by improving your product or service or add to your bottom line by expanding your product offerings.
Who’s in control? Is it you, or is your business running you? Get in control by holding yourself accountable for your objectives. Set benchmarks to evaluate your progress and see if you are zeroing in on your goals.
Let go of solo. Don’t think you are the only person who can do it all. Trust your people and their instincts. Make overall success of your business more important than individual achievement.
Embrace change. Make the acceptance of change part of your business philosophy. Don’t let the people who work for you become change critics or change-resistant. Make change the fabric of your business.