OK, Jeffrey — what are YOU doing about the economy?
I’m sitting having a bagel with my friend, Rex Eagle — an artist, a business consultant, and an exceptionally creative and insightful person. We’re friends, and meet once a week or so to talk about the world — our world.
Rex asked a seemingly superficial question, “What are you doing about the economy?” As I began to answer, I realized I was doing a number of things worth sharing with you, so I documented the entire conversation.
NOTE: For the past 15 years my business (probably like yours) has done nothing but grow. But all of a sudden (probably like yours) it hit a snag. Volume, cash, fixed expenses, and unlike big business, no bailout — or should I say, I’m my own bailout.
The list below contains both business actions and money actions, and they are actions I took the moment I felt the business world, and my world, was in jeopardy.
Here’s what I have done to date for my business and myself:
Eliminate my own salary. The first move of a true entrepreneur.
Cut every unnecessary expense. Line by line. Item by item. If I didn’t need it, it went.
Based on numbers, cash flow, and predictions, I cut staff. Quickly, honorably, openly.
Preserve morale. Train attitude for all remaining people. Leave all morale benefits and long-term benefits in place. NOTE: Internal cutting reduces morale to zero. Cut people, not salaries. If you must cut salary, cut your own first.
Create a small internal “trust” team, and meet as frequently as necessary. I put as much family and other insiders on the team as possible to help figure out what is best for the business.
Study and continue to study money numbers. I make certain that I have a mini financial picture of my company every Monday. This gives me peace of mind, and warns me of any actions I need to take THAT DAY.
Predict cash flow. I know what cash is expected over the next 90 days. This way I can have a realistic idea of what REALLY needs to be done. It’s NOT a “burn rate,” it’s a snapshot. And a planning tool. People who post “burn rates” expect to die. I expect to live, thrive, profit, and succeed. Burn rate, a term invented in the dot.com era, contains two of the most negative words ever perpetrated in business. And incidentally, most of them burned.
I immediately became closer to our sales and the selling process. No one has ever cut their way to success. I became sales manager, and began getting and giving daily feedback.
Forecast sales. While selling cycles ALWAYS take longer than predicted, this is a way to help predict new money.
I talk to my customers to get a feel for their market. This gives me a cross section of information, and helps me get a realistic picture of how things really are.
Observing more than ever. Antennas up. Staying alert as to both warning signals and opportunities. And taking action accordingly.
Live in the now. This economy changes daily, and while I try to spend as little time as possible being media-flogged, there is an amount of business information necessary to understand what is happening, and react to it. I am paying attention to TODAY.
LIMIT media exposure. Five minutes a day is all I need. I invest the rest of my time in my business.
I am not afraid to risk. Part of being in business for yourself is the understanding that risk is part of the process. I have always been willing to risk all to win. Now is no exception.
I am not afraid to ask. For help, for advice, for understanding, and for business.
HERE’S A CLUE: Don’t listen to “experts” predicting what might happen. They have no idea what’s going to happen. One thing is CERTAIN: You can MAKE IT HAPPEN!
There are more actions. There are more revelations. There are more secure moves to make. And there are more risks to take. This is PART ONE.
DO THIS: Come back next week for the rest of the “economy” actions I’m taking. Meanwhile make a list of your own. After part two, I’ll post the entire article on my website.
The economy and my personal state of the union.
– part 2Last week’s article listed answers as to what I am personally doing in response to the economy and my economy. In a word: PLENTY. In two words: RIGHT NOW. I’m not “waiting to see what happens.” I’m making things happen, assessing the situation as it unfolds, looking for opportunities, and taking action.
What are you doing about YOUR economy?
Last week I went into detail about money, finances, employees, benefits, my customers, our sales, the media, and my salary. If you missed it, you can go online and get it at the end of this article.
Here’s the rest of the list of what I have done to date, and what I’m doing now:
Study my assets. I looked at what intellectual property and courseware I have that others will need for the next 12 months. We have information that others would consider valuable, and proactively seek. Others are willing to pay for my information, my content, and my answers. In these times it’s not about what you have to sell. It’s about what others want and are willing to buy.
Build my list of email addresses. My email list has grown from 21,000 to nearly 400,000. I am shooting for a million. The more people I can reach with helpful information, especially in these times, the more I will grow and prosper.
Intensify, hone, and improve my weekly ezine. Sales Caffeine has been alive for more than seven years. Wow. It’s a weekly jolt of helpful information to hundreds of thousands of salespeople, sales leaders, business executives, and business owners. It will stay free and it will stay valuable.
Promote more than ever. People call it marketing. I believe that’s a word of the past. I’m an online value provider. My website, my online training, my YouTube channel, and my podcasts on iTunes keep me at the top of Google.
Continue social networking until I figure it out. I have made around 3,000 friends, fans, and connections on Facebook and LinkedIn. There must be something to it, and I will find out what it is and take advantage of it.
Stay one notch ahead of the curve. That’s the nice way of saying I give my customers what they need the most. I am continuing to invest in my web and online presence.
Be one notch better than everyone else that does what I do. That’s the nice way of saying leave my competitors in the dirt.
Continue to concentrate on (and write about) why customers buy. Stay on the customer side of the relationship (their buying motives) — not the me-me side (my selling skills).
Concentrate on service as much as sales. We have always been a service-based company, and are now taking it up a notch with speed and availability of people and product.
Communicate with my family members (employees) closer than ever. They’re somewhere between anxious and nervous, and want to know the truth.
Intensify my own work — more reading, more observing, more ideas, more writing — more of everything
I’m reading more. Reading and going to read “bigger picture” books that make me think. The Long Tail, Blue Ocean Strategy, Tipping Point, and What Would Google Do? are high on my list. I’m also reading more kids books. They offer great lessons and simplistic answers.
I’m doing more short-term planning. Establishing short-term safety, and taking actions for today to ensure stability tomorrow. Studying both numbers and trends.
I expect everyone to work as hard as I do. No explanation needed.
I am re-dedicating myself to personal excellence and self-discipline. I get up earlier — stay up later.
I’m focusing on personal health and energy. I’m not worrying at all. I have no stress. I’m converting that energy to doing positive things for myself. I’m converting my energy to thinking and doing, rather than fretting.
I’m staying real. I’m looking for reasonable answers, and communicating them to my readers and customers.
I’m taking more time to laugh. I watch one episode of Family Guy a day. It’s funny as hell, and I want to maintain a work-laugh balance :).
I play with my grandchildren. They are a source of reality and positive anticipation.
Whenever possible I take an extra day for myself to relax, think, and write. The more I unwind, the more I write, the more clear things become, and the more ready I am to take action. I’m taking more walks, and creating more think time.
ADVICE: Look for opportunity, not news.
ADVICE: Pay more attention to YOUR world than you do to THE world.
ADVICE: Read positive. Talk positive. Be positive.
ADVICE: Guard your time. Less diversions — not managed time, rather invested time.
ADVICE: Direct your activity to focus on issues of today. Be concise.
ADVICE: You will not win by waiting. You will win by doing.
ADVICE: Take action. Give direction.
All of my studies, all of my experiences, and all of my wisdom have brought me to this point, and now is the time to use ALL my skills. Same with you.
I am receptive to new ideas — I am flexible in my plans — I am ready to respond — I am ready to adapt — I am open. I am taking action based on what I know to be true. Not out of fear. Out of desire to achieve, thrive, and lead the field.
I am not a victim — I am an opportunist, and an optimist.
If you want part one and part two of this piece, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time visitor, and enter the word PERSONAL in the GitBit box.