Top tips for recession-proofing your business
On October 4th I was asked to speak at the 33rd Annual ASAPS conference on dealing with the Global Financial Crises, the effects if it continues and when it ends the influx of patients wanting services.
ASAPS is a combined New Zealand and Australian Specialist Plastic Surgery Society whose primary function is the promotion of excellence in Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Plastic Surgery and Dermal Therapist.
The primary objectives of ASAPS were:
- Education in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery including ongoing education of its members
- Provision of specialist training experience in Cosmetic Surgery for Plastic Surgery trainees
- To promote Research in Aesthetic Cosmetic Plastic Surgery
- To promote and maintain the highest principles of Aesthetic Plastic Surgical practice and ethics
The title of my presentation was The Business Facelift and the content would be relevant to all businesses in the present financial climate..
What is really happening is an emergence from a catastrophic tsunami which has wiped out the wealth of many individuals, closed down businesses, put people out of work and created social disruption. In addition, it has impacted heavily on the public purse causing governments to take on enormous debt and place bets on untested strategies.
There are now signs that governments are becoming alarmed at their own adventurousness.
Everyone has to move forward in this uncertain world, but in a climate where confidence is gradually returning despite the ongoing aftershocks that will inevitably visit us. It is a time for prudent caution coupled with a degree of optimism that the worst is over.
While there is no silver bullet to recession-proof your business, there are some things you can do to manage the business through the difficult times and position it for future growth.
5 Steps to recession-proofing your business
1. Do a financial health check of your business
2. Improve your cash flow
Typically in an economic downturn, the most significant problem faced by many businesses is poor cash flow. Ideas to improve your cash flow include the following:
- convert your outstanding debt into cash
- prepare regular cash flow forecasts
- skew promotions to products and services that can be turned into cash quickly
- measure and reward the behavior of your staff that improves cash flow
- make full use of your terms of trade
- don’t let personal drawings from the business get out of hand
- reduce stock levels
- replace slow-moving and obsolete stock with stock that has a faster turnover
- sell unnecessary assets
- seek finance from external source.
3. Improve or return your business to profitability
4. Do a SWOT analysis
In a downturn, you should adopt a risk management mindset and take stock of your business more broadly. You should therefore:
- conduct research to find out how your customers and competitors are responding to the current economic environment
- not starve your business of essential investment
- review your business operations and look for improvements
5. Create a Business Plan
The business plan is the blueprint for your business. You wouldn’t walk over to an empty lot and just start nailing boards together if you wanted to build a house. Starting a business without a business plan is just as foolish.
Yet unlike a house, a business isn’t static. We often make the mistake of thinking of a business plan as a single, static document that you just put together when you’re first starting out and then set aside.
In actuality, the business plan for any business will change over time as the business develops, and any particular business may have multiple business plans as its objectives change.
Here are good reasons why you should write a business plan:
a) To test the feasibility of your business idea.
Writing a business plan is the best way to test whether or not an idea for starting a business is feasible, other than going out and doing it. In this sense, the business plan is your safety net; writing a business plan can save you a great deal of time and money if working through the business plan reveals that your business idea is untenable. Often, an idea for starting a business is discarded at the marketing analysis or competitive analysis stage, freeing you to move on to a new (and better) idea.
b) To give your new business the best possible chance of success.
Writing a business plan will ensure that you pay attention to both the broad operational and financial objectives of your new business and the details, such as budgeting and market planning. Taking the time to work through the process of writing a business plan will make for a smoother startup period and fewer unforeseen problems as your business becomes established.
c) To attract investors if necessary
Make a marketing plan!
With less money being available, it is important that your marketing plan helps you to achieve key objectives to get you through the downturn, particularly improving your cash position and profitability
6. Find a Business Mentor you Click With
Ask questions to help you determine whether a Business Mentor executive coach has the expertise you need.
7. Look for New Opportunities.
Sometimes, problems or challenges aren’t the cause of burnout; it’s the lack of them. Recapture the thrill you experienced when starting your business by considering expanding or enhancing your products and service lines. Make sure you plan staffing and resources to support any new venture, however, so you don’t unnecessarily add to your workload.
8. Multiply your referrals – without looking or feeling like a salesman
While most specialists (in group or solo practices) rely heavily upon professional referrals, few doctors have any kind of ongoing strategy to build their relationships in order to win their fair share of doctor referrals. That’s a shame, because in the real world doing good work is essential – but simply not enough.
What’s worse, for most practitioners, 80% of referrals come from a handful of referring doctors. If one key referral source was to move, die, change insurance, change allegiances or retire, what would the consequences be to the bottom line?
The good news is that you can build, grow and maintain referral relationships, even if you are shy, extremely busy or don’t have a big budget. I can show you how.
Before you run out and hire someone off the street, or make unnecessary (or even dangerous) changes to your practice or organisation, seek out some expert guidance to create a Professional Referral Growth Plan for your business.
I can teach you “what works,” consult with you privately, analyze your business, make specific recommendations and create a step-by-step 1-year Referral Building Plan.
In just 30 minutes discussing with me your most pressing problems, (free of charge) you will have clarity on how to get back on track. What kind of difference will it take to achieve you highest potential. I offer a money back guarantee to help you make every day more productive and more profitable.
Visit my website: www.mentum.com.au and take the next step to change your life. Leave your details and I will contact you to discuss your personal mentoring.