Let me share with you a tried and true approach to seizing the day during times of market uncertainty.
OK, now what? You clamped down on all hiring, spending and growth initiatives due to all the pessimistic economic reports, the fiscal cliff, healthcare reform, the Mayan calendar etc. and you have now entered a new period unscathed; what should be your strategy?
- Be optimistic – Uncertainty is often the new normal and markets often continue to gyrate, however, there are often growth opportunities here and in emerging markets; therefore, THERE IS NO BETTER TIME THAN THE PRESENT TO TAKE A CALCULATED RISK.
- Revisit your customers – the 80/20 rule is real. Eighty percent of your business is bought by twenty percent of your customers. When was the last time you sat down with each one at their office? How are they managing in the new economy? Do they have any suggestions for product or service improvements?
- Complete a new SWOT analysis – The markets invariably change. It is essential to re-calibrate regularly your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, to gain market insight and improve upon perceptions of your business and product offering.
- Get aggressive – Go after top-line growth opportunities. Research new markets, new strategic relationships, new product expansions that can grow your near-term revenues.
- Plan your cash-flows – How much working capital do you need to fund your existing business? How much cash-flow do you need to launch? Can you bootstrap with existing free cash-flow? Can you improve AR and inventory turn ratios?
- Set your targets higher – It’s time to communicate and challenge your whole organization to new revenue, margin and growth targets managed with a dashboard. Where do you want to be next year? Create stretch goals that are hard but achievable and make the reward worthwhile.
- Invest in marketing analytics – Sales has always owned the hard numbers, but with new analytical software offered to small and mid-market, marketing can now be attached to the sales organization by providing measurable qualified leads for sales to close.
- Hire or contract creative talent – You need “out of the box” thinkers to shake-up the status quo and infuse new innovation to your product development.
- Hire or contract a C-level rainmaker – There is no better person right now who can better help create new opportunities for your company. C-level rainmakers bring a wealth of contacts and strategic relationships to jump start new revenues and customers. And don’t worry. If the right hire, they will always pay for their efforts.
- Tap into your customer base – Your customers want you to exceed and will undoubtedly provide invaluable information on current buying trends. Offer to those closest a seat in unclassified product development meetings.