As the economy slows down and uncertainty prevails in the future of the business environment, it is wise to take action and ensure the sustainability of the business. It is also opportune to use the slow-down period to make strategic, structural and system changes that will not only get you through the tough time but also stand you for better results when the cycle turns.
The key tips to to survive these challenging periods are:
1. Review the strategy and focus on consolidation and viability,
2. Ensure the competitive advantages remain in place and strengthen them,
3. Safeguard customers stay loyal by improving service levels,
4. Increase marketing / sales activity by networking and using affordable online tools
5. Reduce slow/non moving stock and drive increased cash flow (clearance sale in payable COD)
6. Identify wastage / duplication in organisational structures and systems (streamlining)
7. Reduce operational costs by focusing on their value and risk profile (eliminate the non-essential “nice-to-have”)
8. Assess the debt in the business and take appropriate action to manage its potential cost (optimise/reduce based on capabilities)
9. Implement strict credit policy and collect outstanding debtors promptly (settlement discounts/proper admin)
10. Develop a budget and let it be your road-map for expenditure and financial discipline
11. Keep morale high and staff committed and motivated despite the tough times (teambuilding)
12. Take some time to work on the business and stop working hard doing more of the same
It is advisable to ask for help from outside professionals who will provide and objective opinion on these matters and not be unduly influence by the situation or the parties involved.