With the recession predicted to last for the whole of 2009, many of us will come back to the office in the New Year, with some trepidation. However, with the right mechanisms in place, it will still be possible to find the opportunities that are out there and prosper.
Regardless of your definition of success, there are, oddly enough, a great number of common characteristics that are shared by successful businesspeople. You can place a tick beside each characteristic that you feel that you possess. This way, you can see how you stack up. Even if you don’t have all of these characteristics, don’t fret. Most can be learned with practice and by developing a winning attitude, especially if you set goals and apply yourself, through strategic planning, to reach those goals in incremental and measurable stages.
In spite of the economic slowdown online shopping is still thriving, with more people taking advantage of the cheaper prices available on the net and shopping in the comfort of their own home.
However, internet expert WebTrends is warning ecommerce sites that they must provide a seamless online experience, or they could face missing out on a significant piece of the action, as internet shopping gets increasingly competitive .
In this current climate, hiring new permanent senior level staff to run projects might be considered a major risk and financially unfeasible for small businesses. But, to remain competitive, companies cannot afford to put plans on hold, put their head in the sand and hope the upturn isn’t too far away, while the competition steals a march.
I have recently read a number of articles on the problem of absenteeism and was struck by how most of them completely ignored the causes of the problem, and instead focused solely on the measures organisations were taking to ensure that persistent offenders are deterred from taking time off.
We all think of typical sales people as being great communicators. We say that they have ‘the gift of the gab’. But what if you are not a born sales person but regularly need to find new clients? Business development expert Richard White discusses one of the areas that can make a big difference on results – how we communicate with our prospects and clients.
Whenever I’m speaking to sales managers and directors, I find that many are frustrated that seemingly no matter what they say to their sales team, the team is still getting stumped over price objections from their clients! In this article we’re going to look at why your sales team still get price objections and how this gets in their way (and yours) of sales success.
In times of Change, people feel much more secure with strong and clear leadership, but they need considered action and decisions from their leaders. The trouble is, with the pace of business today, the pressure has never been higher and consequently there is always a temptation to act just for the sakes of moving things off the pending pile and appearing decisive.
Change specialist Richard Derwent Cooke suggests that sometimes, the best way forward is infact to stand still for a moment a lend some quality time to a spot of good old fashioned conversation.
Many are wary of upsetting key customers by chasing slow or overdue debts. But as a frequent surprise to many suppliers, buyers often report privately that a failure to chase agreed debts is not seen as a relationship-building exercise, but as weak management. A contractual debt owed is a contractual debt to be paid!
In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we have stressed the importance of ‘starting off on the right foot’ contractually, and ‘keeping your eye on the ball’ financially.
Of course, some organisations have no shame in delaying payments to their creditors, until pushed really hard.
Whether you really want to trade with such bad payers is entirely up to you, but here are some more handy tips that might help however things might go wrong.
Part 2: Keeping your eye on the ball
Getting your Terms and Conditions right and checking customers’ credit status are vital. (See Part 1 of this series). What else can you do to ensure prompt payment?
Monitor your Aged Debtors and set Customer Credit-Limits
You will probably already review your debtors at least monthly, to keep an eye on defaulters. Most financial software packages readily provide this data phased by sums due over successive months. Ignore it at your peril.
The monthly ‘Total Outstanding‘ figure per client is also critical. Your credit checks on each customer should also produce credit limits and you need to have really good reasons to allow these to be exceeded. (Banks, Factors and Debt-Insurers can be laughably conservative in guiding you here, but don’t ignore their advice without excellent reason.)
When doom, gloom and despondency reigns in business, the inevitable response is always to make cuts. No surprise here. The media resound with everyday stories of staff cuts, budget cuts and training and development cuts. And yet, at the same time, there is an astounding growth in job advertising for ‘business development’ executives of multiple shapes and sizes. It’s a stereotypical and oh-so predictable response to tough times ahead. Jeremy Thorn assesses the problem
In February Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, stated that “tighter credit conditions will bear down on demand” and he projected poor growth forecasts and higher inflation. At times like this, banks may refuse or reduce credit facilities and so it becomes vital that businesses have their own stringent credit control systems in place to ensure cash flow is maintained.
So the decision has been made to go it alone. Casting the master-servant relationship aside after years of promising to do so has finally arrived and the world is now your oyster.
Launching a small business is tough, with the line between success and failure being extremely fine.
However, there are a few simple questions and rules, which, if followed through, may make the difference between deciding to throw in the towel before you get your feet wet or wading into the murky depths of small business ownership.