13
Jul
09

Ten tips for business survival in these crazy times

surviving-2009There is only one word that accurately describes doing business in today’s economy. That word is “unforgiving.” The competition is relentless. Customers are more cautious, calculating and demanding with their buying decisions as well as their expectations. But it’s not the threats from the world around you that could throw your business into a tailspin. It’s what’s occurring inside your business that makes you vulnerable.
The key to surviving and thriving in these crazy times begins with leadership and its determination to win the business game. The mandate is simple: if it needs to be done, get it done.
Here are ten tips to help you win the business game:
1. No hesitation, procrastination, blame or excuses: Ignore even the smallest problem today and a bigger problem will be waiting for you tomorrow.
2. All lift – no drag: A business cannot maintain or gain momentum if it’s dragging anchors. Profit-draining projects, departments, services, products, locations and any other business function or entity that’s not performing needs to be fixed or cut. Unproductive employees – get them into the game or cut them loose. You get the picture.
3. Live your cash-flow plan: If you don’t have a cash-flow plan, you and your company are flying financially blind. If you have one, it only works if you’re accountable to it.
4. Have the tough conversations: Every leader has a number of tough conversations that have been waiting too long to happen. Employees need to know where they stand even if it’s not what they want to hear. If you’ve been fighting harder to protect an employee’s paycheck then the employee, it’s time for you and the employee to make a decision.
5. Innovate to grow: A crisis always seems to inspire innovative thinking. But why wait until there’s a crisis? Get you and your team’s creative juices flowing now. Create an environment and culture of innovation by creating think tanks and special project teams. The next new opportunity for your company is waiting to be discovered. Go for it.
6. Inspire a sense of urgency: Urgency is the energy that drives business growth. Urgency pushes leaders, employees and companies out of their lethargic comfort zones. Huddles, scoreboards, deadlines, goals, rewards, celebrations and more are all simple tools to keep urgency levels high. Yes, urgency comes from leadership. It rarely happens on its own.
7. Finish what you start: “We’ve tried that before and it didn’t work.” If this statement describes your company’s track record for getting things done, compromise is alive and well in your culture. This is all about accountability… and it begins with you.
8. Keep commitments: Broken promises or commitments compromise trust and contaminates business cultures. If you say you’re going to do something, do it.
9. Find that 20% growth: I absolutely believe that every company has 20% more growth waiting to happen – if it goes after it. There are new customers and opportunities for growth everywhere. The only question is, are you willing to do whatever it takes to go for it? Get out of your comfort zone. Make those extra 10 sales calls. It may even be as basic as holding everyone accountable to existing systems and procedures.
10. Lead with passion: If you truly believe in your company, its people and its mission, then let it show. Leaders that live in fear or feel like a hostage in their own company allowed their passion to fade away. If necessary, fall in love with your company again. Get fired up about the opportunities and rewards that await you. Let your passion out and your people will follow you.
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO

surviving-2009bThere is only one word that accurately describes doing business in today’s economy. That word is “unforgiving.” The competition is relentless. Customers are more cautious, calculating and demanding with their buying decisions as well as their expectations. But it’s not the threats from the world around you that could throw your business into a tailspin. It’s what’s occurring inside your business that makes you vulnerable.

The key to surviving and thriving in these crazy times begins with leadership and its determination to win the business game. The mandate is simple: if it needs to be done, get it done.

Here are ten tips to help you win the business game:

  1. No hesitation, procrastination, blame or excuses: Ignore even the smallest problem today and a bigger problem will be waiting for you tomorrow.
  2. All lift – no drag: A business cannot maintain or gain momentum if it’s dragging anchors. Profit-draining projects, departments, services, products, locations and any other business function or entity that’s not performing needs to be fixed or cut. Unproductive employees – get them into the game or cut them loose. You get the picture.
  3. Live your cash-flow plan: If you don’t have a cash-flow plan, you and your company are flying financially blind. If you have one, it only works if you’re accountable to it.
  4. Have the tough conversations: Every leader has a number of tough conversations that have been waiting too long to happen. Employees need to know where they stand even if it’s not what they want to hear. If you’ve been fighting harder to protect an employee’s paycheck then the employee, it’s time for you and the employee to make a decision.
  5. Innovate to grow: A crisis always seems to inspire innovative thinking. But why wait until there’s a crisis? Get you and your team’s creative juices flowing now. Create an environment and culture of innovation by creating think tanks and special project teams. The next new opportunity for your company is waiting to be discovered. Go for it.
  6. Inspire a sense of urgency: Urgency is the energy that drives business growth. Urgency pushes leaders, employees and companies out of their lethargic comfort zones. Huddles, scoreboards, deadlines, goals, rewards, celebrations and more are all simple tools to keep urgency levels high. Yes, urgency comes from leadership. It rarely happens on its own.
  7. Finish what you start: “We’ve tried that before and it didn’t work.” If this statement describes your company’s track record for getting things done, compromise is alive and well in your culture. This is all about accountability… and it begins with you.
  8. Keep commitments: Broken promises or commitments compromise trust and contaminates business cultures. If you say you’re going to do something, do it.
  9. Find that 20% growth: I absolutely believe that every company has 20% more growth waiting to happen – if it goes after it. There are new customers and opportunities for growth everywhere. The only question is, are you willing to do whatever it takes to go for it? Get out of your comfort zone. Make those extra 10 sales calls. It may even be as basic as holding everyone accountable to existing systems and procedures.
  10. Lead with passion: If you truly believe in your company, its people and its mission, then let it show. Leaders that live in fear or feel like a hostage in their own company allowed their passion to fade away. If necessary, fall in love with your company again. Get fired up about the opportunities and rewards that await you. Let your passion out and your people will follow you.

Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.

Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO and author of No-Compromise Leadership

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