Just recently we have seen signs that the economy may be stabilizing. The stock market is up over 20% from the low reached in mid-March, consumer confidence is on the rise and several major banks have reported stronger than expected first quarter results. We’re not out of the woods yet, but the signs are much more promising than they were just eight weeks ago. So what’s next for your business? First make sure you have the resources (especially cash flow and financing) to make it through the current recession. Now is the time to position your business for the recovery that will ultimately come. Other items to consider:
1. Listen to your customers: what do they really want from you; are you providing it, could it be improved? What can you do to gain a larger portion of your customer’s business? Most business owners already have a pretty good grip on the answers to this, but as the owner/manager, customers and employees are not always telling you the way it really is. It’s a great time to approach this in a more systematic and unbiased manner...you could be very surprised at what you find!
2. Anticipate the next market move: Develop your long-term product/service strategy by asking yourself a few simple questions. Who are your toughest competitors from a product or service innovation standpoint? What emerging needs are they fulfilling? How has the current recession changed these needs? Are changing demographics or the economy re-shaping your customer base? Many larger companies increase their spending on R&D and new product development during a recession to be better positioned to take advantage of the market recovery.
3. Develop a plan: Where is your business really going? Where will it be in five years? Are you creating long-term value in your business that would someday be attractive to an outside investor? A downturn like this is a good time to pull together a strategic plan that will guide your business towards your longer-term goals after we emerge from the current economic recession.
How do you get started with any of this? Our Director of Business Consulting, Paul Breimayer, has the experience of a CPA, CFO and division manager of a Fortune 500 company. Give him a call at 415-408-5021 for a free consultation or check out all of our consulting services on our website.