Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features Business and Operations Finance
Grow your business in a recession


May 28, 2009
By Stephen Edwards

Topics



stephenedwardsDespite what the news media may report about the
corporate world’s shrinking profits and troubled times, the fact is for any
business, now is the perfect time to improve your cash flow, increase your
company’s productivity and enhance your management skills.



stephenedwards 
  

Despite what the news media may report about the
corporate world’s shrinking profits and troubled times, the fact is for any
business, now is the perfect time to improve your cash flow, increase your
company’s productivity and enhance your management skills.

While it’s true that the current economy and ongoing social
changes can be scary at times, realize there is a wealth of tremendous
opportunity just waiting to be tapped.

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So why aren’t more business owners, managers, and
entrepreneurs reaping all the opportunities? Because they’re stuck in the old
business model’s mentality of scarcity and fear. They believe that in order to
win, someone has to lose. They think the proverbial pie is only so big, and if
they don’t get their share right now, the pie will soon be gone. They’re
convinced that unless they have financial security today, their future will be
hopeless.


Nonsense!


Succeeding in business today requires you to embrace a new
mindset – one of abundance and prosperity. The truth is everything you need to
thrive, even during tough economic times, is well within your reach. You simply
need to look at things from a different perspective to see what’s right in
front of you.


If you’re ready to buck the old system and make some serious
profits in today’s economy, consider the following suggestions.

Find new sources of money


Many businesses have found that their bank has called in
their line of credit or their loan. Because so many businesses have failed in
the recent months, banks have gotten skittish. That means companies need to
find new ways to subsidize their cash flow.


Factoring is one way to get money for your business right
now. A factor is a company that will purchase your aging accounts receivable.
They’ll pay you cash for every invoice you sell them. Now, instead of having to
wait 30, 60, or 90 days to get the money from a customer, you can get the money
instantly from a factor.


Another option is to raise money from private investors.
Even though the economy is not as strong as it once was, it’s actually easier
to find investors these days. Why? Because people with money to invest are
hesitant to put their money in the stock market. They’d rather invest in a
growing company that they can watch and help mold over time.


If you have a small profit margin, such things as factoring
or finding investors may not work, because these outside entities take a
percentage of your profits. Therefore, before embarking on this path, you may
need to find some more creative ways to lower your expenses. For example,
perhaps you can find a better source to manufacture your products, or maybe you
can eliminate steps in your production process. If you can’t streamline your
operations somehow, you may need to make less profit for the short term.

Utilize and increase your greatest asset


Any company’s greatest asset is the people who work there.
No matter what the economy is doing, you need to get the most out of the staff
you have. That means continually educating your employees. You simply can’t cut
corners in terms of educating your staff.


In addition to training and educating them, you also need to
motivate and inspire your staff. To do so you need three things: A mission
statement, a vision statement, and a purpose. For example, if your mission
statement is that you provide a particular product to ensure that people have
more energy in their lives, your vision statement would vividly describe what
that mission looks like. What do people look like when they have more energy?
What scene can you portray that people can hold in their mind? Then the purpose
explains why the mission and vision are important. After all, if people don’t
have the “why” behind the mission and vision, then those statements are
useless.


Companies with mission, vision, and purpose statements are
MVP companies. They use their mission, vision, and purpose as the engine of the
train, taking the company where it needs to go. When you have your mission,
vision, and purpose clearly stated, you’ll have employees who aren’t just
showing up for a paycheck; rather, they’ll be inspired and eager to go to work.

Set yourself apart from the competition


Meeting customer needs is no longer enough. You have to go
beyond simply meeting needs in order to stand out from your competition. Do you
know who the number one company in the United States is right now in terms of
customer service? It’s Amazon.com. When it comes to differentiating themselves
in terms of service, they go above and beyond expectations. For example, if you
buy a book from Amazon and within 90 days you order that same title again,
Amazon will remind you that already bought it. While that may seem like a small
gesture, it goes a long way toward customer perception.


So what additional services can you provide for your clients
that are a minimal cost to you but have a high value for your customers?
Perhaps you can educate your clients on some aspect of your industry. Education
is knowledge, and knowledge really is powerful. What information can you
provide that can be helpful to your clients?


This is contrary to the old school business belief, which
said that you should never educate your clients. “Don’t tell them what you
know” was the mantra for decades. But that’s the old scarcity mentality at
work. Today, in order to set yourself apart, you need to share your knowledge
freely. Decide what you can give away to add value to the services you’re
currently providing so you can differentiate yourself and create a loyal following
of raving fans.

Change Your Thinking – Change Your Future


In 2004, an article in the USA Today said that the greatest
fear of Americans is the fear of running out of money during retirement. Well,
what have we just experienced in the stock market? This is proof that operating
in a fear-based, scarcity mentality does not work. And these fears are born out
of uncertainty and lack of education.


Unfortunately, our society has been built on financial
illiteracy. In the past, the economy and businesses were able to flourish
because they were able to create products and services that played into
people’s fears. We’ve seen the result of that, and it’s not pretty. The system
fails because it’s built on greed, fear and scarcity.


The new paradigm of business success is going to being built
on financial literacy. The fact is that if any business is going to survive, it
has to take accountability and responsibility for its profits. That means
looking at new ways to increase cash flow, leveraging your employees, and
differentiating yourself better. By following these three simple rules, any
company can find endless opportunities that will enable them to prosper for
decades to come.

Stephen Edwards is a financial coach and author who went
from an empty bank account and a broken marriage to an amazing success. This
turnaround is a result of implementing the financial and personal success
principles he learned from working with today’s leading influencers. For years
Stephen has taught financial literacy at invitation-only events; today, he
opens his events to the public, teaching people to invest in themselves and
their futures. He is also available for speaking engagements. For his
availability, visit www.seemiracles.com.