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Keeping Your Business Healthy in a Down Economy

(May 2009) posted on Wed May 20, 2009

If the economic downturn has left you with extra time on your hands, why not use it to look for ways to strengthen your company? Follow the ten guidelines presented here to find new business opportunities and keep your company profitable.


By Mike Ukena

You can learn some valuable lessons to keep your own business successful by understanding where failed businesses usually fall short. When you assess their mistakes, you’ll find that they generally occur because the company didn’t adhere to some very basic business principles. This article identifies the top ten of these principles:

 1. Never be content with your market.

 2. Never take customers for granted.

 3. Never make decisions based on rumors.

 4. Never take orders at a loss.

 5. Never expand production capabilities without thorough research.

 6. Never expand your product line without thorough research.

 7. Look everywhere for new opportunities.

 8. Always play the part of salesperson.

 9. Always listen.

  10. Remember your best asset— your staff.

Although several of these concepts may seem to represent simple common sense, the fact that they are so frequently overlooked makes them worth exploring. By taking these principles to heart, you’ll put your business in a much better position to survive economic downturns now and in the future.

 

Never be content with your market

Of all the principles presented here, this is the one that should be the foundation of your business strategy. As a business owner or manager, you cannot afford to be satisfied with your market or the position of your company in that market. Larger companies can afford to have teams of managers who continually look ahead, scouring for new opportunities and competitive threats, while in a smaller business this responsibility generally falls on the owner.

Regardless of who’s in charge, constantly keeping watch for changes in the market is a function that cannot be ignored. Otherwise, you may find out the hard way, watching orders dwindle as a more visionary competitor down the street discovers a way to offer faster turnaround, a better price, or some other advantage that attracts your customers.

This doesn’t mean that you continually have to buy new equipment whenever the competition does. What it means is that you must always strive to offer more—more service, more quality, more of what the customer wants—in order to keep that customer’s business. In some cases, new equipment may be required, but in others the solution may be to modify procedures, add a simple service, use different materials to provide a better product, or make similar changes.


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