7. Kick off a cost-cutting, gross-profit-building mission. No one knows what the future holds, but it’s a safe bet it won’t be “smooth sailing"; more likely “choppy waters filled with sharks and the occasional iceberg.” When tough times and financial uncertainty loom, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand. And, one of the best ways to create cash is to find added gross profit, and at the same time cut some expenses. That said, McBean suggests you ask yourself:
- What expensive mistakes did we make last year?
- How can we avoid them next year?
- What can we do to build up the cash cushion that might help us get through any market corrections or uncertainty?
“I’m not recommending knee-jerk reactions like massive layoffs or switching to inferior-quality materials,” McBean says. “Don’t cut out the wrong things, but do look for smart, well-thought-out ways to save money and start building up your cash cushion.
8. Set some realistic goals for next year. Then, dial up the “aggression factor” just a little bit more. In other words, aim high. Don’t be lulled into complacency or let the continued talk of doom and gloom handcuff you. You might be okay now but that doesn't mean you will be tomorrow, and you have to keep pushing the market. Every company has competitors, and if it doesn't and it’s successful, it soon will. Successful owners know they have to fight not only to win market share but to retain it as well, says McBean.
“If you take your focus off the market, competitors will step in and take what you have worked so hard for. It’s just the law of the market place jungle,” McBean says.
This last point is perhaps the heart and soul of McBean’s philosophy. To succeed and to stay successful, companies must be “on their game” 24/7. That warrior mindset begins and ends with the business owner.
Bill McBean is the author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t (Wiley, October 2012, ISBN: 978-1-1180949-6-9, $24.95, www.FactsOfBusinessLife.com). A graduate of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, and Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta, Bill began his career with General Motors of Canada Limited in 1976. After holding several management positions with GM, in 1981 he accepted a position with the Bank of Nova Scotia (ScotiaBank) as manager of a sizeable commercial lending portfolio. Two years later, however, GM approached him about opening a new automobile dealership in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, and, along with ScotiaBank, offered to lend him the required capital. Accepting the offer, Bill began his first business as a “start-up” the following year, beginning with ten employees.