Difficult times come for every business, small or large – whether due to movements within the industry, or wider economic strife. Current supply chain issues, combined with the inflation of prices for many crucial overheads, have pushed a number of businesses into negative cashflow this year.Whatever the cause for business instability, there are a number of approaches business leaders can take to stem the tide, and to ensure longevity. Here are some key ways in which you can address hard times.
Maintain Staff Morale
In tougher times for any business, it is only natural that employees will begin to get concerned. Higher pressures and reduced results can see staff worried for the stability of the company, and the security of their own position. As such, you should endeavour to sustain office morale where possible. Whether ramping up social efforts and team-building, or instituting measures to allay employee fears over redundancy or downturn, directly addressing low morale can keep your business’ core processes turning over.
Re-Focus on Existing Customers
In times of economic downturn, new customers can be especially hard to come by – making marketing to a new audience an increasingly expensive and inefficient method of maintaining profits. Even in times of positive growth for a company, its existing customers form a financial bedrock with which base operating costs are comfortably covered.
As such, nurturing existing customers can provide the financial stability necessary to weather difficult times. There are a few ways you can approach existing customers, each of which can offer different benefits in the short and long term. Firstly, reaching out to existing customers on record with promotional materials can be an efficient way to boost sales. This is also true of prior customers who may not have an active account with you.
Secondly, existing customers and clients of yours may have favourable payment terms or credit agreements, granted by you in better times as a good-will gesture. In tough times, you reserve the right to alter these times; by reaching out and asking for swifter payment of outstanding invoices, you can increase cashflow without increasing sales.
Seek External Help
In many cases, there is no one change you can make to improve your company’s circumstances. The pressures on your business can be multifarious, and too great to solve without expert advice from an external pair of eyes. Restructuring specialists can help you define areas to save money and generate short-term cashflow, while external auditors can examine your finances and identify gaps for you to plug.
There is also much to be said for simply asking the advice of a contemporary within your industry or professional circle. Problems shared are problems halved, and someone unmoored from the specifics of your day-to-day operation may have a nugget of insight to help you shift your efforts and change your fortune.