7 Golden Rules to Keep Your Business Thriving
How can a businesses protect themselves in a downturn? George Derbyshire, Chief Executive of National federation of Enterprise Agencies has some advice.
1. Focus on Your Existing Customers. When times are tough, they are more valuable than ever. It is easy to axe your marketing budget, but you should resist the temptation to cut back. You also need to make sure that potential customers still know about you.
2. Be A Ware of Your Finances. Review your projections now and make sure that they still hold water in today's conditions. Consider the increased likelihood of bad debts: make sure your credit references are up to date and your debtor control operation is sharp.
3. Look at your suppliers. You may come under some pressure from suppliers looking to increase costs. Remember you don't always have to accept a rise. It may be worth negotiating, suggesting staged increases or simply looking elsewhere.
4. Look at Your Costs Rigorously. It is time to trim the fat. Can your utility bills be reduced by switching suppliers? Are you incurring unnecessary travel costs? Look at each line critically - you should be able to make worthwhile savings without damaging your business.
5. Adapt and Add Value. You need to stand out from the competition so consider adding free services. Consider 3-for- offers or packaging togerhte a range of services at a discount to encourage customers to buy more form you, not less.
6. Keep Talking to the Bank. Your business plan should recognise the risks you face and build in contingencies. But, if life is getting difficult, make sure you talk to your Relationships Manager in good time. It's not advisable to ring up in a panic for an emergency rise on your overdraft.
7. Don't Face It Alone. Take advice. There's nothing worse than feeling as if you are handling business pressures alone. Remember that there's a huge array of business support available for you to take advantage of.
Just a few links that may be of help.
www.creditmanagement.org.uk for tips on getting paid on time.
www.nfea.com a network of enterprise agencies in the UK.
www.businesslink.gov.uk for a raft of information and training.
www.payontime.co.uk for details of how to charge interest on late payments and an online calculator.
www.britishchambers.org.uk for economic news and business information.
www.insolvency.gov.uk for steps to take if you are owed money by an insolvent company.
www.registry_trust.org.uk to check if a customer has any County Court Judgements awarded against them in England and Wales for non-payment of a debt.
For another good starting place try your own bank for help and advice. That's why they are there.