Entrepreneurship

Times are good, aren’t they? Will they stay good forever? Of course not.

Back in the last downturn, what do you wish you had done to prepare for future tough years? The time to prepare for hard times is during good times. That’s now.

You don’t want to hunker down and miss out on opportunities now for fear of what may lie ahead. So how can you take advantage of profit and growth opportunities now while taking prudent steps for later safety?

  • Control your costs. This is not sexy, but it’s the single most important step. And it’s the opposite of what many business owners do. When cash is rolling in, they go on a spending spree.
  • Run a lean operation. Don’t get lax with routine expenditures. Weed out people who aren’t doing the job you need done. Stay on top of scheduling, and don’t have more on hand than you need for each part of the day or week.
  • Hire top quality people; train them well. Build a growth team, and nurture their loyalty. A strong, loyal growth team will also be a “get through tough times” team.
  • Build habits of productivity and profitability during good times, so they will carry over into tough times. Make sure your incentives require and reward productive, profitable operation.
  • Raise your prices. Don’t lag behind your competition.
  • Keep your customers happy and loyal by performing impeccably, and handling mistakes completely and openly.
  • Make sure everything you sell is profitable. Make sure your systems can tell you what is most and least profitable. Weed out unprofitable products or services that drag down your margin.
  • Build up business savings, made possible by raising prices, controlling costs and boosting profits.
  • Stay on top of opportunities. Innovate in your products, services, marketing, and operations. Don’t get trapped behind the innovation curve by sticking with lower margin offerings.
  • Seek counter-cyclical business niches. What do you sell that will stay strong through a downturn?
  • Grow into profitable niches, so that you have a stronger basis for profitable operation during a downturn. Don’t be caught trying to sustain an unprofitable operation when a downturn hits.

Surprise!  Your preparation for a down cycle looks very similar to growing during good times.

Want a set of questions to help you discover how to make these things happen in your business? Just ask me and I’ll email it to you.

{ 0 comments }

How to stay out of POVERTY GULCH

“I’m so busy on my big lucrative project that I have no time to market!” Then the project comes to an end. Now you have plenty of time to market. But you’ve been out of the flow so long that it takes awhile to fill your pipeline. You’re in Poverty Gulch.

boom and bust cycleYou have just gone from having a big project, where you are very busy, but fat and happy, to having no work at all. Since you were so busy–and making so much money–you did no marketing. When the project ends, your workload falls way off. You have to hustle for work until you get another big project. Then you once again forget about marketing.

This is a very common occurrence for entrepreneurs. It’s called the “boom and bust” cycle. What can you do about this? How can you keep a level of business development going even when you are focused on a large project, so that when it ends, it doesn’t take you so long to get back up to speed?

It is a matter of attitude and setting boundaries with your client. Are you the head of a business? If so, you must allocate time for all aspects of running your business, including marketing.

The biggest barrier to this is not the demands of your client. It’s your own preference to just keep working rather than face the uncertainty of drumming up more business. Admit that to yourself.

no povertyMany entrepreneurs much prefer doing client work than marketing for new work. For them, having one big lucrative client is the ideal–especially if the money is good. It’s a risky strategy, though.

Two options:

1. Set a limit: No single client absorb be more than 15%, or 30%, or 50%, of your work time. Choose your own number.

2. Make clear to your big client what your maximum weekly or monthly billable hours for them will be. Then stick to it. You don’t want to be their contract employee.

 

 

{ 0 comments }

New Entrepreneurs’ Biggest Mistakes

November 12, 2012

Here are a handful of the biggest mistakes made by new entrepreneurs wanting to grow their business.

Read the full article →

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

November 5, 2012

Six qualities needed by every entrepreneur. #1: You’ve got to want to make money!

Read the full article →

How to Avoid a Get-Rich-Quick Mentality

August 20, 2012

A get-rich-quick attitude is a bane to business succees. To avoid it, surround yourself with savvy business owners.

Read the full article →

Are You Cut Out to Be an Entrepreneur?

June 25, 2012

Do you have what it takes to succeed in business? Many do who seem to lack strong entrepreneurial skills. Here’s what they do have in common.

Read the full article →

The Inner Game of Business Growth

June 4, 2012

Why do some businesses grow rapidly while others struggle for growth and profitability? Here are examples of what holds people back.

Read the full article →

Is Entrepreneurship for Everyone?

May 29, 2012

Many “accidental entrepreneurs” go on to run very successful businesses. Here are examples.

Read the full article →

How to Create Jobs

April 30, 2012

Start your own business! (My response to a question on EIUhow to tackle unemployment–so widespread among young people in many parts of the world. Perhaps it’s my American bias, but I think that encouraging entrepreneurship is a big part of the answer. The worst policy is to create government jobs or government-funded jobs. Unleash and […]

Read the full article →

What Does Sustainability Mean for Business?

February 20, 2012

A sustainable business does more than sustain itself. It builds wealth and benefit for its owners, employees, and customers

Read the full article →