Posted by Robert Verri
The end of a tough year has passed and the forecast is for very little; to no improvement in our economic growth. Interestingly enough, I’m witnessing two very different approaches from various business owners that I work closely with. Regardless of how I assess the reasons for the varying approaches, I can’t help but think it’s just about ‘mindset’.
Some business owners outlook is dim and one of “batten down the hatches, let’s wait for the storm to pass”. Conversely the optimistic business owners are looking to pounce on opportunities.
What has been your approach, in recent times?
Whenever analyzing any business opportunity or venture, the methodology remains the same, the state of the economy should not complicate your analysis. I follow this ‘7 Step Process:’
1. Gather all the facts and figures, does the new opportunity add to or replace the current business you are involved in?
2. Research, research and then do some more research;
3. Conduct a feasibility study, aka ‘crunch the numbers’;
4. Forecast the Profitability and the cash flow impact; go for worse case;
5. Get any legal documentation reviewed;
6. Create a Business Plan, put all your thoughts on to paper;
7. Consider any tax issues such as structures and registrations.
Opportunities come in all forms and sizes. It may be a new way to market your business to create a whole new division of ancillary services or products that accommodate your current offering. For example, it might be time to update your website by creating a subscription to a newsletter which has special offers. Another might be to add a follow up procedure after you sell your services or product to provide you with an opportunity to ask for referrals and/or request a customer survey so that you can continue to improve your customer service.
A client of mine is currently working on securing government grants that will allow the cost of their products to be reimbursed through the end user. Another client has redesigned his trucks and equipment to allow him to access low level underground car-parks which will more than double his prospective clients that he can target.
The opportunities available to you don’t always involve large capital requirements, in fact sometimes it’s the simple yet obvious changes to your business and how it trades that can give your business the boost it needs.
Another client of mine has developed a cheap and effective spreadsheet (using excel) to record and maintain the status of their quotes that have been sent to their customers. The spreadsheet has become the nucleus of their daily sales meetings (this tool is commonly referred to as a Customer Relationship Manger – CRM). By using this xls. the business has a tab on every single quote that has been sent and its status. The sales team now records and updates the spreadsheet each time contact has been made with the prospective customer, so everyone in the business knows exactly what the status of that quote is. As a result of this extra focus and accountability from the sales team, sales conversion has increased by +50%. CRM’s can cost big dollars, but why not start with a DIY simple spreadsheet first. In fact, we have developed a simple tool that our clients use to do this very thing. If you would like to know more please feel free to give us a call.
What are you going to choose to do: keep going without rocking the boat or start looking for new and improved ways to do business, find business and run your business? I look forward to hearing your success stories……….