Freedom Blog

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reboot Your Business®| The Freedom Coach

Can Your Business Be Saved? Part 1 of 2

Written by Steven Griggs |

Excerpted from my coming book: “REBOOT YOUR BUSINESS ! How to Restructure Your Business to Survive and Thrive in Today’s New World”

“I never failed once. It just happened to be a 2000 step process.”     Thomas Alva Edison                                                                        

1. Self-Review: The first step in assessing whether the business can be saved involves taking a long, unflinching, honest look at yourself.  Do you still feel the same as when you started the business?  Do you really like what you are doing? 

Like Steve Jobs and his mirror talk- If today was the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?      
Do you like some aspects of the business, but maybe not others?  Make a list.  Are you passionate about the products or services your business provides?  Do you have the time and energy to do the work needed?

Do you find yourself able to "be yourself", act like yourself in this business?  If not, why not?  Do you really want to own and run this business? 

Look closely at these issues before analyzing the business itself.  If you don’t really like what you’re doing, if you are not passionate about it, the odds are against you, it’s as simple as that.  I’m not telling you to give up.  I’m suggesting you take an honest look at what you really want, and what can be changed, or better yet what needs to be changed in order to make you happier, more productive, and therefore, more fulfilled.
2. Finances: Next, analyze cash flow, the money in and money out.  If you haven’t already done so, consider hiring an accountant to forecast finances. Go through each and every item in the budget and cut all items that are not absolutely essential to daily business operations.  Look at everything, including small items, such as coffee delivery service, snacks, and magazine subscriptions, as well as big dollar items, such as employee benefits and travel and entertainment expenses.  

Dig deep into your fixed expenses and try to find ways to reduce the cost of essential items, as well. For example: office supplies- can you find a less expensive supplier? Office space- can you downsize or relocate to a less expensive location?  Or, can you dispense with office space all together and go virtual?

Are there products or services that are no longer producing positive results for your organization? Eliminate or replace products and services that are no longer profitable. Remember the 80/20 rule- 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts; find the 20%, emphasize that and eliminate the rest. Sell off any equipment you don't need. Look everywhere for potential waste.

3.Employees: Being honest with your employees will help retain their loyalty even if times are bad, and will reduce the effects of the rumor mill.  Keep them in the loop. Tell them what’s going on, the challenges you are facing, and new developments as they emerge.  

If cuts are needed, tell them. The chances are they already know. Try to be available to answer any questions.  And by all means, ask for their suggestions for improvement.
Reduce your staff as needed.  Look at staff whose skills can be consolidated across several jobs.  I would try to retain generalists who can do several things well, and keep those who have proven both reliable and versatile.

Make sure your employees know they're valued. Share your vision and plans regarding turning the company around, and provide them the opportunity to stay in or move on.

Be careful and apply any reductions in benefits uniformly, don’t create dissension by favoring anyone in the organization. This will breed discontent.

More in part 2.

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