Who knows where that quote is from? That’s right…Andy Dufresne from “Shawshank Redemption” said those wise words before deciding once and for all to take his future into his own hands and refuse to lay down and die. I know we have all heard plenty about the economy, but it is important for everyone to now focus on the future. 2009 will be the year that separates the real entrepreneurs from the fake ones. Many of the most successful people in the world have been through more than one recession, failure, etc. Failure is the precursor to success!
Bascially, what I am saying is that it is gut check time for many companies. Most newer companies have never lived through a recession so there will be new and scary realities to face. The businesses that are just “playing” the fast-growing start up game will not make it. The ones that are ready to buckle down and make tough decisions have a great chance at earning some serious battle scars and coming out of this on the other end tougher, wiser, and with the foundation for future greatness.
Some of these realities are:
Its time to get lean and mean: Keep in mind this does not mean laying people off. Your best investment right now is in your team…without them you can’t perform and you can’t service your clients. Try getting creative with cutting your expenses. You will be amazed at how many expenses you have that are not necessary. Once you cut them and nothing bad happens, you will be better off!
Look at the numbers: Understand your books and know how much money you are burning and how long you have to “live”. Understanding this will help you discover how to lengthen your lifespan and in the meantime creatively improve revenue and profit.
Shift budgets so they focus on revenue generating assets: Review every expense you have and cut things that are not measurable and that are not directly helping you sustain. I am trying to be non-biased but this can mean shifting marketing dollars to cost effective channels like Internet marketing. Not all aspects of Internet marketing are necessarily appropriate for each business but there are usually two or three channels that can be combined to drive revenue.
The bottom line is that it is time to make changes and thing strategically about what this year will mean for your business. You might find that it is a great time to gain incredible market share. Online marketing can be a great way to cost effectively build your brand and stay within your tight budgets. The revenue you generate can be rolled into more growth. If you act now and think about the next 10 to 12 months, you might be pleasantly surprised when 2010 roles around and you have actually grown…or at least sustained. Flat is the new up! So embrace it if you must.