Weathering the Storm: One Tip to Survive Tough Financial Times
Whether we’re talking about factors that are unique to your organisation or your industry, or a wide scale recession that hits the entire economy, an organisation’s ability to weather a severe financial storm is often determined by one simple, under-leveraged factor.
There’s a range of macroeconomic factors in play here that can upset both your organisation’s short and long term profits that remain frustratingly out of your control. One thing that remains firmly in your control, however, is how well you’re serving your clients; the only thing worse than not securing a new deal in tough financial times is losing an existing one.
Take some time out to read my piece on actively listening to your customers; both their feedback and their demands which might change in new circumstances.
The most valuable piece of advice I can offer up to weather the storm of tough financial time is to make sure you’re valuing each and every one of your clients. Make sure they feel as though they’re being served in the best way possible, so you benefit from both retaining a customer, and hopefully receiving some positive feedback and referrals looking further down the line. Double-down on how you’re serving your existing customers and your strong-points alike. Putting this into practice is also known as the affirmative inquiry approach, which I’ve written a piece on previously that you can access here.
It’s a cost-effective means of improving your organisation’s outputs and processes without having to radically change your operations or allocate more resources. Quite often when it comes to times like recessions, this is one of the most integral strategies to keep your organisation on track. I’ve said countless times now that one of the most important pillars in business is assuring the promises you’re making to customers and stakeholders are being delivered upon. This is particularly important when you’re weathering a financial storm that causes your numbers to stagnate; double-down on what you’re doing right, and how well you’re serving your customers.
Likewise, take your customer's feedback - good and bad - on board your vessel, which will help you navigate tough seas. Their feedback will open up new areas for you to either consolidate, or raise issues that need to be addressed to ensure that if one particular client of yours did feel violated following a transaction or interaction with your organisation, you're doing everything in your power to ensure that doesn't happen again.
There’s psychological benefits at stake here, which will boost the culture in your organisation, and assure your clients that despite macroeconomic factors, you’re able to deliver upon the promises made, delivering a product or service that exceeds their expectations. While it’s a slightly cynical thought, if you keep this in mind, you’re more likely to expand your organisation through the most effective means of marketing: word of mouth. You can’t manufacture word of mouth referrals, and they’re an invaluable form of capital for your business to leverage; particularly when times are tough.
So, wrapping this up, in a nutshell- if times are tough: serve your customers and exceed their expectations. There might be a host of variables impacting your organisation’s bottom line that are out of your control, but this is something firmly in your grasp. Leverage it, and serve each of your clients as if they were your only clients.
Since you’ve stuck around, here’s some extra tips to help when the cash just isn’t coming.
--Reduce and/or slow down your monthly cash outflows; your expenses.
--Cut any unnecessary spending- so long as it doesn’t impact your ability to deliver on current promises made to customers.
--Call your suppliers or utilities and try to renegotiate better terms for your organisation.
--Collect your receivables sooner; offer a discount for early payment to encourage this.
--Plan for the worse; imagine it will only get worse for your organisation- plan accordingly.
--Look for new opportunities; be it improving existing products/services or creating new ones.
--Always cut executive salaries before wider wage-cuts; a good leader gets paid last.
As always, thanks for you time.