5 Steps to save you next year!

2010 will be a year to remember as the fallout continues from the sins of the past. Whether you were guilty of actively participating in the “Creditalism” practices that finally burst the false growth over the last twenty-five years…or if you were passive and just sold more goods into a market of over-extended customers…we are all in the same boat now.
What you do with your business over the next twelve months is far more critical than you think it is. The economy won’t just snap back to normal. Normal was ABNORMAL. Don’t look for spending 120% of what people earn anymore just because credit was everywhere.
When people can only buy what they can afford prices crumble as the oversupply meets the lower demand.
There are too many of everything in business today…restaurants, shops, manufacturers, and even service companies to serve the demand of the consumer. People who ignore reality are Ostriches who get run over by the bus as their heads are buried in denial. Some are Deer-In-The-Headlights who can’t act and still get run over. Those who heed the advice here are Lions…King of the Jungle…and they will survive.

Start with a reality based assessment of your current situation. How much cash is on hand, how many of the accounts receivable will you actually collect, is that inventory really saleable in today’s environment, and can your equipment really produce what you need to survive?

Let’s go flying. As a pilot you have are those gauges in front of you providing data that keeps you alive. Warning lights let you know when there are problems. And, not one qualified pilot ignores the gauges. Information keeps you alive. DATA DRIVES DECISIONS. Ignore a warning light and you could die. Deny the reality the gauges tell you and you could crash.
Assess your business gauges honestly…they will tell you the truth.

Is there a new product line you could add? Suppliers are begging for new outlets to sell their stuff. Is the talent you need now within reach as their salary expectations are much lower than last year? Are you reading enough, checking the Internet regularly, listening to the media, and calling people who know how to deal with the problems you face?
What about the competition? Have you talked to your competitor…maybe today he or she is a resource, not an obstacle, to survive.
Back in the cockpit we go. The engine is on fire, or the fuel has leaked out…the gauges say you are in trouble. Grab the microphone and get on the radio…look at a map and find a place to land immediately…use what is outside of the cockpit to help you be able to survive.
Is your credit line shot? Can you snatch some inventory at a discount from a falling friend? Perhaps the Landlord will restructure your rent rather than lose a tenant. Gather all of your data from all of your internal and external resources. The first two steps put you at a crossroads. The truth tells you which way to turn.

Either the truth says you can make it and it’s time to spitball all options that in the past seemed absurd. Buy someone out of the market…expand to a new location…add products or services.
Perhaps you could launch a new venture in the middle of this mess. It is far easier to do all of these things in a “down market” than when everything is humming.
If you follow the truth from your assessment and you have gathered all resources that can be used to effect change…establish a plan. In the cockpit you may have only seconds to save your life. The truth is…in business the plans you make every second could save or crush your business.
At two miles high one of my engines quit one night. A very bad situation, but not necessarily a fatal one. Step one I assessed the problem. Step two I gathered information inside the cockpit and on the radio to see my options…within seconds I created a plan! An emergency landing at the nearest field was arranged with the help of the guy screeching through my headset. All went well and I landed safely.
Once your plan materializes have the guts to follow through on it. In this economy those who act quicker stay alive while those who linger longer…lose.

In the very near future the devalued dollar will bring the inevitable inflation. The only way Uncle Sam can pay down this horrendous debt is to make assets values seem higher, give people more money, and then take it away from them to pay off the debt for the wasteful spending of today.
There is no future for those who pile up debt. Leverage is good…debt based on the future performance of others can be devastating.
People scream that it was a few bad apples on Wall Street, or greedy mortgage brokers who scammed banks, or bad people who borrowed money they couldn’t pay back. BUT, we “good” citizens borrowed against our homes to vacation or invest in the bloated stock market prices of those banks and home builders, or we speculated on the real estate market because we saw others getting rich there.
Those who failed to stay out of debt…are now being crushed for their sins.

Join the new millennium. Be a part of a professional networking group. Hire a young staff person to integrate your business using the social network sites on the Internet.
What you did for marketing five years ago is passé. Huge companies have fallen using old school techniques. In the same manner that technology has been changing at an incredible pace, so too are the ways business owners must change. Be quick or be dead.
Use modern tools and modern methods or be left in the dust.


Author's Bio: 

Herman has been a Pilot in the Air Force, started 21 business enterprises, written two books (THE INNKEEPER TALES and HERMANISMS), is a professional speaker, founded for entrepreneurs, and serves as the Director for 321 Capital Partners.

Herman has worked with more than 1,000 business owners and has bought and/or sold more than 300 companies in 41 different States.