Running Your Company in Times of Flux

Running a business means dealing with uncertainty. We have normal risk factors, such as retaining clients, securing new business, dealing with competition, increasing sales and margins while keeping costs down and dealing with employee issues. On top of those, we may have unanticipated external events that must be factored into the decision making, such as new taxes, legislation or other unanticipated events out of anyone’s control.

The answer to these problems is to think through how various situations may affect your business and select the course of action that seems best at the time; if things start to change, and look at your options and respond accordingly. The better you have explored your options, the faster you can proactively deal with events.

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Here are a few examples:

Client retention. How can you retain your clients? This would include: Make them know that you care about them, how they are doing and what keeps them up at night. What can you do to help them so they don’t explore other options? How can you do a better job, and are there any issues they have with you? If so, how can you best deal with them to secure your position with them?

Your competition will continue to go after your accounts and prospects. Thwart this by providing a value proposition that documents how you will save clients and prospects money. In the process demonstrate how you will better handle dealing with external threats and opportunities.

Securing new business. Opportunities present themselves during times of change. Prospecting for new business opens up a dialog to find solutions for problems that either exist with their existing vendors or expose them to risks in new taxes and legislation you can help alleviate.

Operationally, you will need to try to increase sales and margins while keeping down costs that do not favorably impact your bottom line and company value. As unanticipated external events unfold, this will add an additional level of complexity to your work. This might involve changes that may impact you and your customers regarding: trade policies, property and state and federal income taxes, health insurance, legislation, etc. As the Bob Dylan song goes, “Times they are a changin’,” so don’t be caught unaware.

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Michael Neidle

Michael Neidle
Michael Neidle is president and CEO of Optimal Management, an advisor to staffing firm owners and managers.

Michael Neidle

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