Here are 10 rules of
engagement that will help you successfully
recast your business and succeed in the new
1. Evaluate and eliminate excessive debt.
If your revenues have dropped, you may not
be able to service the debt you took on when
your revenues were much higher. Any debt can
be worked out -- secured debt, loans
guaranteed by the Small Business
Administration, mortgages, lines of credit,
and even leases.
2. Downsize. If you haven't already,
reduce your headcount and overhead. You can
deliver the same amount -- or more -- by
3. Track your finances daily -- and start
today. Install a key indicator system to
track your business and have daily, weekly
and monthly financial reports issued. Follow
profitability per job, per week, per client,
per product. Use these indicators to focus
on your most profitable products or
services. Make nothing that does not bring
in a profit.
4. Reduce inventories and overhead at any
cost. Look for items that does not move
or turn frequently. That's where your cash
is locked up -- in your cost of materials,
labor, and so on, waiting to be turned into
cash after itís sold and the receivables
collected. This can result in a huge cash
5. Train and cross-train your staff.
If every job or task is learned by at least
one additional person, when the primary
person is out, the secondary person
cross-trained to perform the task can leap
in and save the day. And so work continues,
and productivity remains high despite the
absence of a key player. Smoother
production, greater productivity and happier
customers mean a better bottom line.
6. Review your marketing and reduce
spending on traditional media. Use the
internet and focus on existing clients
first; get more out of them. Internet
marketing will save many companies. Consider
what's called the long-tail theory, coined
by Wired Magazine Editor-in-Chief Chris
Anderson. In short, it means that there are
folks on the internet making profitable hits
of niche products, services and
7. Resist profit-eating sales and
discounting. Don't give away your
product; instead, compete with service,
quality and uniqueness. Create a niche and
have a competitive advantage. The big box
stores cannot compete with you, especially
on service. It's the small-business
8. Expand geographically if possible.
Internet marketing can take you anywhere,
especially if you can create an expertise or
a niche item or service. Find what you do
that is unique and do it as large as
9. Manage effectively. This means
tracking and analyzing key indicators,
financial reports and productivity. Get
smaller first and more profitable; then grow
slowly and carefully.
10. Focus on quality. Thatís what
wins in the long run. Never forsake this
Donald Todrin, Entrepreneur Magazine,
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Although you can be a consultant in
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1. Accounting: Accounting is something that every business needs, no
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business with all of its financial needs.
2. Advertising: This type of consultant is normally hired by a
business to develop a good strategic advertising campaign.
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15. Marketing: Can you help a business write a marketing plan? Or do
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