Tag Archive for 'business fundamentals'

Small business success fundamentals for 2012

Don’t worry – this column isn’t about resolutions; resolutions are optional.

This is about fundamentals that have served businesses since humans decided to trade with each other instead of taking what we wanted by force.

Focusing on these ten fundamentals will help you have the maximum opportunity to find success in 2012.

  1. Cash is still King. Managing the relationship between accounts payable and accounts receivable is as essential to survival for your business as breathing is to you.
  2. Declare war on excess inventory. Don’t let one piece of inventory spend a night under your roof unless it’s turning or paid for.
  3. Convert non-performing assets to cash. What things were worth last year has no bearing on what they’re worth today, and they will be worth less tomorrow. If it’s not being used, cut it loose.
  4. Employees spend most of your cash. Ask them to identify ways to find efficiencies and maximize margins. Install these into the new year’s budget and operation.
  5. Review all operational steps and eliminate, or fix, inefficiencies. My friend, Michael Stallard, recommends the four “Ws,” “What works, what doesn’t, what do we stop and what do we continue.”
  6. Outsourcing is a best practice. Call a planning meeting and ask this question about every task in your operation: “Must this be done in-house?” Everything that does not directly “touch” a customer is a non-core competency and a candidate for outsourcing.
  7. Keep your banker informed about business opportunities AND challenges. The title of the shortest book ever written is “Loan Officer Courage.” An uninformed banker is a scared banker and you’ll never get help from a scared banker.
  8. Success burns cash. Prepare a financial projection that anticipates at least 10% growth in sales this year. See how that impacts your cash requirements due to increases in inventory, A/R, etc., and start thinking about how you will fund this growth (see #7, above).
  9. If you don’t have a banking relationship with an independent community bank, start one this week This is not a banking alternative – it’s a small business financial fundamental.
  10. Every customer and prospect has expectations that are changing faster than ever before. Keep asking what they want and deliver what they say. Remember, you get to decide what you do; customers decide how you do it.

Focus on the fundamentals, plan for success and grow your small business in 2012.

I talked more about these 10 business fundamentals today on my radio show. Take a few minutes to download or listen now.

Four more 2012 success fundamentals with Jim Blasingame

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Focus on the fundamentals for 2011

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to revisit tried-and-true operating fundamentals that have served businesses well since Og traded skins to Gog for shells.

Regardless of where your business is on the economic recovery time continuum, focusing on these fundamentals, and others, will produce positive results quickly.

1. Declare war on excess inventory. Don’t miss a sale; but don’t let one piece of inventory spend the night in your building unless it’s essential.

2. Review all operational steps, and eliminate or fix inefficient ones. Focus on the pennies; the dollars will take care of themselves.

3. Review all contracts for services received to make sure you still need them. Your customers are doing the same thing, so get ready.

4. Interest rates are still low. Talk with your bankers about adjusting any outstanding notes to the new rates.

5. Keep your bankers informed about how things are going. The title of the shortest book ever written is Loan Officer Courage. An uninformed banker is a scared banker, and no one ever got any help out of a scared banker.

6. Employees spend most of your cash. Have a meeting, and ask them to help you identify ways to maximize margins and cut expenses. Write those things down, and put them into the new budget and your operation. What’s their motivation? How about job security?

7.  If you rent, have a pow-wow with your landlord. Get any concessions you can, and don’t be afraid to be creative. But remember, the more the landlord moves in your direction, the longer the lease commitment will be expected.

8.  Convert non-performing assets to cash, even if you have to short-sell something. What things were worth last year has no bearing on what they’re worth today, and they will be worth less tomorrow. If it’s not performing, cut it loose.

9. Profit is the Queen of business, but cash is King. Tighten up credit terms with customers. Have a meeting with your sales staff to make sure they understand the new policies. Stay close to your accounts receivables – real close.

10. If possible, personally call on every customer soon to have a business visit, not a sales call. Lay out your case for how you will serve them in the coming year, but also reveal what the relationship needs to look like for it to be good for you.  Think partners, not adversaries.

Focus on the fundamentals, and claim your own economic recovery in 2011.

I talked more about focusing on small business fundamentals recently on The Small Business Advocate Show. Take a few minutes to listen and leave your comments.

Focusing on operating fundamentals

More operating fundamentals to focus on

Focus: Getting your small business on the right track

One of my favorite things to do is talk with real small business owners and get them to reveal the things they do to grow their businesses, especially in a challenging economic environment.  Recently, on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked with entrepreneur and inventor, Debbie Meyer, and asked her to offer a few words of wisdom. Debbie is unique in a couple of ways:

1. Unlike many entrepreneurs, who are great at creating but not so much at managing, Debbie has proven to be both a visionary and a great manager.

2.  Stereotypical inventors are good at inventing, but not so much at taking their product to market successfully. Debbie has overcome that baggage with a very successful market penetration.

So when Debbie talks about how to get your business ready for the challenges ahead, people listen. Debbie’s message this day is about focusing: Pay attention to the really important elements of your business, identify the ones that work and modify or get rid of the ones that don’t.

Debbie is co-CEO and co-founder of Housewares America, Inc. as well as a member of my Brain Trust. Take a few minutes to listen to my conversation with Debbie and, as always, leave your own thoughts. Listen Live! Download, Too!

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