As uncertainty about the economy grinds on, business owners who feel like they’ve been doing everything right still feel like they’re coming up short.
One thing I keep hearing is that we’ve cut expenses to the bone . . . we’ve gone through and trimmed all the perks, tightened our belts until there’s no more room to suck it in. But is there? Sometimes as business owners we chase nickels around dollar bills, as the old saying goes. We might be notching up the savings by excising our chamber dues, getting rid of the breakfast rolls in the break room, or rationing ballpoint pens. The bottom line is these are small, trivial costs. Yes, all those nickels add up, but for most businesses they aren’t going to amount to any serious savings in the long run.
The worst part of a nickel-hunting expedition is it makes us feel like we really did something. If you choose to slash your way out of a crunch situation, make sure you at least take a look at larger, more serious costs. If you don’t now, you may be forced to do it later anyway, when it may be too late. Do you need to reorganize, discontinue a line of business, lay people off? None are pleasant decisions, but the future of your business may depend on it. Otherwise, you may be eating those breakfast rolls at your kitchen counter at home instead of at your desk over morning email.
Beyond cutting expenses, the real solution is more sales. I have a mentor who preaches “Sales solves all problems.” With sales being more elusive lately, are you inadvertently cutting your best lead generators and sales tools – cutting pennies at the expense of bringing dollars through the door? Are you cutting networking events, marketing, sales training, for example? If your competitors aren’t, prospects will remember them – but not you. And if your competitors have made cuts in these areas, investing in them yourself will keep your company top of mind.