How long has it been since we started reading and hearing stories about a recession? 1 year? 2 Years? Are we in a recession now but don’t know it? Is one really coming?
I’m sure many business owners if not most people working in businesses as leaders, managers and employees are asking themselves these types of questions. I can’t tell you whether we are in a recession, heading for a recession or neither, but I do have some thoughts I’d like to share.
I recently read this article, Don’t Hang Up on Your Customers | Inc.com by Carey Smith, founder of Big Ass Fans. In it he talks about the danger of cheaping out on customer service. As the financial leader of several companies throughout my career, I’ve often led exercises about cutting costs. Typically, these exercises were started and then the plans implemented because an existing (not anticipated) recession was happening and the ability of the company to meet its obligations and survive were at stake.
I recently had the great fortune to attend a presentation by Dr. Kaihan Krippendorff, founder of Outthinker (www. Outthinker.com). “Outthinker” refers to outthinking your competition and how doing that can generate huge growth in customers, sales, profits and value. They key to Dr. Kaihan Krippendofff’s talk was about finding “The Fourth Option” which he describes as changing how you play the game.
Whether you read or watch the news or just pay attention to the prices from your suppliers and requests for bigger raises from your employees, you know that inflation is significantly higher than most of the last 10+ years.
Whether you are a manufacturer, a distributor, reseller or service company, knowing how much money you make on each product, product line, revenue stream, channel, contract or customer is critical to maximizing your profitability.
Business owners often push for productivity, and in a company where there are 10 or 1000 people doing the same task over and over again, it’s easy to set a goal and measure whether it’s being achieved by each individual, a department or a production line.
If you run a company and you’re thinking about where you want that company to go, developing a strategic plan can help you crystalize your goal(s) and, even more importantly, how you’re going to achieve them.
Most business owners and CEOs want to grow their top line, and many do something about it (launching new products, hiring more salespeople, investing in marketing and driving more revenue from their existing customers.) As their Chief Financial Officer, I put a focus on growing profitably.
Almost every business owner I know wants their business to make more money. It can allow them to reinvest, expand their product offerings and increase future sales or it can allow them to put more money in their own pockets.