Red Zebra Business Centre -Management Memos
January, 2008. Making Measurably More For Your Business Since 1985!


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Happy Christmas

the party's over.

now let's have the after-party!

It looks like the party is over. Two leading banks say the US economy is already in recession, and the UN has the same outlook. Local interest rate rises reinforce the view.

Add in slowing economic growth here in Australia, and forthcoming changes to workplace law, it looks like the end of a long bull run. For smaller businesses at least. So, let's start planning our own 'after party' party, and make this a truly 'Happy New Year'!

Why? Because small and medium businesses who plan well now, can get ahead of the rest, and do well in a tightening economy. We can party next year, while others moan.

First, trim your costs. No. That does not mean "go into survival  mode". It does mean "make sure that every cost element is justified by its results" Perhaps the use of your company motor vehicles (and other company facilities) has become a bit slack, and stationery costs and phone use (particularly mobiles) is growing more rapidly than revenue. Trimming these things not only saves money - it revives the necessary business focus in the minds of all your staff!

Second, get going on a sales drive. For the last twelve months or so, many of our clients have reported no problem in making sales - just a problem in handling the volume. As the market tightens, selling effort needs to be doubled and redoubled again to keep sales increasing. If you are serious, you will see sales growth ahead, instead of justifying a sales slowdown on everything but your own inaction. Sales campaigns take a while to build up steam, so if you're going to be pulling in the sales in ever increasing numbers over the next few months, it's best to start your sales program now.

Third, merchandise like fury. This takes careful planning. By applying really smart merchandising planning, you'll get lower Cost of Goods Sold, lower cost advertising, and higher advertising effectiveness. A fantastic triple whammy! To get that benefit, you need a plan in place that will guide you for months and months ahead

Fourth, train your staff in outstanding customer service. Over the last couple of years, as sales have been soaring and customer confidence has been high, there has been a noticeable decline in the level of politeness and helpfulness of customer service staff in almost every sector. Now it's time to refocus staff attitudes to who is really paying the bills! Extra help, extra information, and extra courtesy are inexpensive customer 'value-adders', but they pay handsome dividends!

These four pointers might seem obvious, but they are surprisingly hard to put into practice. Especially if you are on your own, and don't have an external reference point. You need that to help you measure how good you are, and how well you are performing compared with others in the trade.

Plan now so you can party later. Even if you do need help - it just has to be done!

 If you'd like to find out more, talk to us, or ask us a question here! Remember, there's no charge or obligation, and you get a whole hour's consultation free. This same offer also applies in New Zealand.