How to Survive in Your Business Until It Thrives
By: Susan Dunn
|Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, coaches individuals and executives in emotional intelligence, and offers workshops, presentations, trainings, Internet courses and ebooks. She is a regular presenter for the Royal Caribbean and Costa cruiselines. Visit her on the web at www.susandunn.cc and mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for FREE ezine.
If your business is in a slump, or you’re losing money, or critically short
on cash, or, even worse, have gotten yourself in a position where every
new contract, every new customer actually loses you money, you must cut
- Take nothing for granted.
Look over the past 6 months bills and find out where it's going. Then slash
and burn. Do you really need that extra phone, heck that extra phone line?
The 800-number? A night receptionist? A secretary for each partner?
- Be ruthless about help.
Is that outside sales person really earning his keep? Ask employees to
cut hours or take cuts in pay. Be prepared to fire someone. Replace with
student intern. Switch to temps, they don't need insurance. Or to Virtual
Assistants, they don’t require your supplying a desk, computer or health
insurance. Take a cue from the telemarketing companies – my VA who lives
in India, works for US$6 an hour.
- Don’t do anything designed to “keep up appearances,” or you’ll “look good” all the way down the drain.
- Cut out “frills” and defer maintenance.
From free pop for the employees to the brand of toilet paper in the restroom
to those Sanford Ph.D. pens you’ve been supplying to business lunches at
The Club. Cut out the paper cups and take turns washing dishes. Start a
coffee fund. Give up parking at the door. Recycle used paper to make note
- Do things you were paying others to do.
Clean the floors yourself. Physical exercise is good for the nerves.
- Nothing is off limits.
Including 401ks, personnel, your wardrobe, the company picnic, supporting
the Little League team, subscribing to trade journals, attending seminars.
- If you have folks on expense accounts, tell them to sharpen their pencils.
Make it clear you're reading those things. Make it clear what the limits
are. And lower them by 50%.
- What is the thermostat set at? Do you turn off the lights when you leave
at night? Who’s flying who could be driving?
- Go back and comparison shop for every service you need.
Find a lower phone rate, a cheaper janitorial service, cheaper paper with
free delivery, cheaper service provider, cheaper computer nerd.
- Ask others for help, and renegotiate everything.
Changing out tenants is expensive. Your landlord might lower your rent
rather than lose you.