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The futures of you and your business can begin today

Posted: June 24, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 24, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

The anemic diet of bad economic information continues for business owners, many who are “working twice as hard for half the return.” 

With tough times and sometimes good times, hard work and long hours goes a long way, but a focused effort combined with solid strategy and an action plan implemented daily is a much better combination.

A different perspective is called for these days. Now, at mid-year, is as good a time for a serious review about the future of your business.

Does your business have customers or clients? Now is the time to make the conversion. Customers are good; clients are better. 

As the leader, what are you doing to improve the business model? How can you get several ongoing revenue streams from clients?

What are you doing to lock in and keep clients for longer periods of time? Transactions are good, relationships are preferable.

What are your plans to harvest more from the biggest asset your business possesses: your base of former and current clients?

Is everyone in the company focused on improving business cash flow? While cutting back is part of the solution for a better future, look at cash flow is as an investment fund for the future. Businesses can’t spend alone to a better future; revenue must also grow.

Is the price high enough for what you sell? Or, is it simply enough to get the business?

Price discounts come right out of profits. Premium products deserve a premium pricing position.

Do you have the best people possible on the payroll? Are your people pushing you out of your comfort zone and have you seeing things differently? No owner can fly with eagles when spending time with turkeys. Being challenged is not a bad thing.

Are the company goals high enough? Are the goals stretching all your people to ask: “How can we do this; how can we make this happen”? Rockefeller continually asked “how” as he started and grew Standard Oil. He got wealthy as a result. Knowing what to do is no longer enough, the how is just as critical.

Is everyone focused on the right goals? Are you certain that people are in alignment?

Are people being asked to step up and do more?

Does everyone have an eye on the future? Has the future been defined for the business? Most owners aren’t afraid of the future; they simply have not defined it. Set time aside to visualize what the desired future looks like. Use a vision board, a vision statement or a single sentence defining the business in five years. Get people involved in this process; make them part of the future.

Amazingly, some owners have already given up on 2012. This is a total admission of defeat; praying as if some miracle will occur on New Year’s Day 2013 that will change and everything will instantly become better. 

U2 sang “Nothing changes on New Year’s Day.” This applies to businesses as well.

For many who own a business, this is not the best of times; for some, it is the worst of times. But regardless of what your business situation is, no one has to live or die by what the media is saying about the economy.

If you are in business today, you can create your own good news. You can create your own future.

The tools exist; you know what needs to be done. Understand that nothing will happen
until you have a plan and take action. And make your people your partners.

If your business is going to have a future, it begins and ends with what you start, stop or stay doing today.

Ken Keller is CEO of STAR Business Consulting Inc., a company that works with companies interested in growing top line revenue. He can be reached at KenKeller@SBCglobal.net. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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