With Suzanne McCreedy of Business Link
It is essential, now more than ever, that your business acts to ensure its long-term stability. Business Link can help put your company in a strong position for 2009, enabling you to proactively deal with the challenges ahead.
Business Link will, regardless of the size or stage of development of your enterprise, provide you with the right assistance to strengthen your operation where it needs it most. For a full version of the tips below, click on Business Link’s top ten steps to help your business survive the economic slowdown, which is found in the Shape up for the future section of the Business Link website at www.businesslink.gov.uk/northeast.
- First, mind your cash flow. Understand exactly what your finances are telling you. Issue invoices promptly and chase up debtors. Don’t buy more stock than you need and keep in touch with your bank. Cut your costs; look for savings in every part of your business. This can be as simple as flicking a switch and reducing your electricity bills.
- Credit check new customers. It may take only one major customer to go bust to jeopardise your business. Know your customers. Make yourself indispensible by understanding their needs and research new markets that are yet untapped.
- Provide outstanding service. Give customers more for their money.
- Increase your marketing. You don’t have to break the bank but when you are competing in a tough market place you need to shout about your business.
- Concentrate on products and services that sell. Don’t put your efforts into selling things that are untested, stick to profitable favourites and don’t be tempted to slash prices, especially if demand is not price sensitive.
- Train your staff; they are one of your greatest assets. Maximising their potential is crucial for personal development and productivity.
- Streamline your operation. Assess if staff are being directed in the right areas, if moving to smaller premises would be beneficial and if flexible working is more cost efficient. If you are considering redundancies, remember this is bad for morale and that new recruits may be hard to find when business picks up. Sell online. An online sales or marketing channel will expose you to a greater audience at minimal cost.
For further information on Business Link and how to prepare for 2009, visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/northeast or call 0845 600 9 006.