When business slows down remember these ten timeless fundamentals:
- Cash is king, not profit. Obsess about tracking the amount of available cash.
- Chase debtors, invoice correctly. Pay your own bills on time, not early.
- If possible sell underperforming assets, write off old stock, turn it into cash.
- Losing customers is a disaster. Develop customer retention strategies. Stay close to your best customers.
- Develop aggressive investment appraisal analysis. Any expenditure must do better than the net effect of the money not being spent and going straight to the bottom line.
- Before you make people redundant, look to be more creative; hiring and pay freezes, salary reductions, job shares etc. Morale is critical, because people deliver service and quality. Showing that you are trying everything will be noticed.
- Be careful about cutting small but significant hygiene factors like free tea and coffee. Better to cut heavy expenses, like business class travel except long haul. Even though it might be a ‘skinny version’ still hold a Christmas party.
- Harvest every enquiry or lead, follow them up with gusto.
- Over communicate, keep people informed, try to take as consistent a tone as possible.
- Remember one of the most relevant leadership definitions: Grace Under Pressure, people look to senior people for clues as to the business’ real position.