Research Triangle Business Advisors
July 2012 Newsletter
How do you find success in
today’s difficult business environment? Have a tactical plan!
I see three things that need
to occur to help you create a tactical plan: a) Recognize there is a problem, b)
Make the necessary change to address the problem, and c) The CEO/Business Owner
is a catalyst for change.
Especially in these trying
economic times I help companies remove roadblocks to success by helping the
executive team focus on the basics. We help our clients prioritize their
efforts and stay focused on the highest priority items. Every company’s
priorities are different; therefore our coaching is unique to each client and
their individual needs. We bring our wisdom, not our extensive experience, to
each situation – to each priority – whether it is operations, finance, sales,
marketing, funding, or personnel.
This month’s newsletter
highlights top problems facing businesses today and then provides some steps to
follow for building your “back-to-basics” tactical plan.
Top Problems Faced by Business Today
1. Uncertainty –
in the global economy and
the current recovery (or not), uncertainty in the credit markets, uncertainty in
2. Globalization –
Consideration of foreign
cultures and economies is essential to everything from the ability to penetrate
new markets with existing products and services, to designing new products and
services for new customers.
3. Regulation –
The changing regulatory
environment always creates anxiety in some industries, but unclear energy,
environmental and financial policy is a chaotic distraction for nearly all
4. Technology –
is expanding at an
exponentially increasing rate. This has been true for decades, but the pace
today makes capital investment in technology as much an asset as a handicap.
5. Complexity –
Life and business have
gotten more complex even as certain tasks and activities have become easier with
modern information technology. The pace of change is accelerating. The global
economy is becoming more connected, creating a larger and more diverse base of
customers and suppliers.
6. Information Overload –
In today’s business
environment nothing is changing more, or growing faster, than information. The
problem is how to convert the information into usable knowledge.
7. Supply Chains –
Suppliers that can no longer
get the credit they need to keep up with their customers’ demand exacerbate an
already bad situation. The problem is to develop a supply-chain strategy that
ensures the lowest costs, and minimizes costly supply-chain disruptions.
8. Problem Solving –
The lack of a sophisticated
problem-solving competency among today’s business leaders is limiting their
ability to adequately deal with business problems. This is why executives tend
to jump from one fire to another, depending on which one is burning hottest.
These executives often don’t realize the fast-changing business environment is
what ignites these fires.
What can you do to deal with
these problems – get back to basics!
“Back to Basics” Problem
'triage' focus – focus on the biggest problems first
Assign work based on
priorities (with due dates)
Track progress and
refocus/redirect staff as required
Have consequences for
Be decisive and
if resource constrained
Ask for help
(including from your staff)
Walk the talk; set an
Be a change agent who
initiates required changes quickly
Drive improved cash
flow with elevated revenue growth and cutting deep into expenses.
control measures (hiring freeze, expense approval, travel restrictions, etc.)
standards to positively affect cash flow (collect early, pay late)
unnecessary assets (people and things)
authorization to highest level executives and lower authorization dollar limits.
Reevaluate and freeze
pending capital projects
personnel to exceed their sales quotas
Minimum sales staff
productivity must cover the cost of their burdened compensation.
plan drives correct behavior
Micro manage sales
pipeline activity, status, and quality
Reduce travel &
Contact all existing
clients for referrals
Focus on lead
generation only – drop branding, marcom, and product positioning
programs/campaigns that are not lead generation focused
marketing and sales activities
Cancel trade show
participation unless there is a proven connection to lead generation
Use existing customer
base for referral programs
Utilize lower cost
tactics (i.e. viral marketing, blogging, social media)
Close any 'open'
Appeal to existing
investors for additional funds
lines of credit are available
non-traditional sources of funding (Sell AR, industry partner loans or equity
deals, grants, existing assets, etc.)
Cut personnel expense
– if needed, possibly a 10% to 20% salary cut across the company
Don’t staff any
position that does not cover its cost, use variable cost contractors in balance
with fixed cost employees.
employees and reduce headcount when/where appropriate
programs and off-site meetings
Ensure bonuses and
salary increases are in line with corporate performance. Freeze if necessary.
perks and don’t under value the power of the public “Thank You”
A Final Thought…
Lou Holtz’ (famous Note Dame
Football coach) advice to businesses on how to find success…
Be at work, be fully
present and engaged, be where you are expected to be, be doing what you are
supposed to be doing, be productive.
Don’t keep people
waiting, keep commitments, don’t waste time, keep committed appointments, keep
meetings to allotted time, and allocate time to high priority items only.
Dressed to play
Be prepared, know your
products and services, know your industry, be skilled, use your tools, always
have your tools with you, always have the tools you need (anticipate).
Cary | Raleigh | Research Triangle Park |
Greensboro | North Carolina
Contents © Copyright Research Triangle Business Advisors
( RTBA ) 2012, All rights reserved.