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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Struck by simplicity

Every once in awhile, my musings take me to a place where I see just how simple everything really is. We don't need pundits to bring the basics home to us.

Lately I've been helping my 10 year old daughter with her science and social studies homework (math is greatfully left to Dad). In both subjects, there are natural laws - cause and effect. They don't change. They are immutable.

Laws of business and laws of the economy also are immutable and effect does follow cause.
  • If you spend more than you make, you will lose money and eventually have to either cut your spending or go out of business.
  • If you borrow more than you have assets to cover, if the lender calls in the note, you will be in deep trouble
  • If the media scares us all into hoarding every last penny that we have [e.g. don't spend], the recession will deepen until people begin spending again
  • As you make decisions to cut things out of your life and stop spending, people will lose jobs
  • As people lose jobs, they will stop spending and more people will lose jobs
And so it goes. The cycle will continue until someone (including you) breaks it. I suggest we each do our part and not wait for the government to be our savior. I suspect they won't get to bailing me out for quite a long time, so I'd better figure out a plan now!

  • Be prudent in spending cuts. Cut in the places where there is fat and where you don't directly touch your customers. If it takes 5 days to issue a contract to your sales people to close a new deal, cut out unnecessary processes. If you have elaborate policies that reinforce saying NO to employees or customers, see if you can retool to encourage and reward saying YES.
  • Changing your organization to a Customer Centric Culture is a great way to grow when everyone else is cutting services. Start your analysis from the customer and move out throughout your organization. Cut from the outside in, with the customer at the center.
  • Be creative in how you fund new initiatives. Where before you hired a team internally to get something off the ground and then expected that same team to go from build mode to caring/nurturing the business, look at bringing in outside expertise to speed up the build process.
  • Be wise about spending both corporately and personally. Cut out the frivolous stuff (realizing that the local Starbucks may have to close at some juncture if we consider our afternoon Frappucino as frivolous), but keep the economy moving. Spend money with local, entrepreneurial businesses if you have a choice between that an national chains. The national chains will bounce back much more easily and generally have much more fat to cut before having to consider closing.
  • And don't forget to travel so we can stimulate the industry that we serve. Stay close to home if you must, but recognize that now that gas is under $1.50 per gallon in many places, driving is a much more appealing alternative to flying. If you drive, please use www.roadescapes.com to plan and give me your feedback so we can continue to improve the product.
Living in fear rarely produces a good result. Look forward to the days when you are well funded, growing, strong and an industry leader. Focus on building momentum, not hitting the brakes.

Start today by making a list of 100 things you can do to grow your business. Do your part today to stimulate the economy. And if you need help, don't forget to call.

Chicke Fitzgerald
813-925-0789
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