Is It A Recession? Is It A Depression? Doesn’t Matter ….Stop Your Bitching and Moaning And Take Purposeful Action

The last thing my readers need is another economic analysis report or some suggestion that I or anyone else out there flapping their jaws really know all the facts about the reason for current climate.  Ladies and gentlemen. reading those headlines and spending time analyzing the crap in the news is a monumental waste of God given talent. Stop your bitching and moaning and take responsibility for what you have control over which is your life. All change starts with one person. Do you want to know who that person is?  Look in the mirror.

If your business is suffering, if you have lost your sources of cash flow, if you are feeling tired, down, stressed or in general not very good, recognize this: it is very true that the way you feel is absolutely a direct result of how you think.  Don’t believe it?  OK by me if you want to be a martyr.  For those of you that want to take responsibility here is a quick 5 Step Plan to move forward fast:

A Five Step Speed Action Course For Achieving Your Goals In Changing Economic Times:

1. Recognize that most people you meet and talk to are going to be bitching and moaning about something or multiple things. Don’t play in that sandbox.  There are a small group of people totally optomistic about the unlimited possibilities. These are the people you want to “hang out” with.  So you don’t know anyone like that?  I’ll tell you one source where I have met some wonderful people. Register for an account at www.Facebook.com  and www.twitter.com   You can begin by adding me (Steve Pohlit) as a friend and if you don’t think I am wonderful, you will soon find a large number of people who are.

2. Understand the dynamics of doing business are always changing. Since 1994 with the introduction of the Internet browser, the rate of advancement continues to accelerate. Do you remember a few years ago where Google Adwords was all the rage for on line marketing? Do you know the impact social networking is having on the Adwords market?  When you look at the financial results of Google the impact may not seem obvious because Google is still the 800 pound gorilla.  But if you become active in the social networking markets like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and nearly daily growing rate of others you will see changing trend lines. I recently activated a site www.youtubemastery.net  that begins to teach people how to use video to market their business and products on line. I can’t imagine recommending that even as recently as three years ago. I know at that point there were some progressive internet marketers using video but to encourage brick and morter businesses to use it would not have been very credible for me at that time. Now it would be irresponsible if I didn’t recommend it and teach it.

3. Nothing is the same forever…nothing.  I am very familiar and experienced with using eBay stores as an adjunct to selling physical products using internet sites and retail stores. Several years ago the eBay model seemed to be an unmovable foundation for the auction business. In the last two weeks I was asked for my expert evaluation of a global trading platform that is very popular in the Europe. The person who contacted me was considering making a commitment of money and time to this business that is scheduled to enter the US.  When I started studying this model I was amazed to discover that most of it was a completely new way of lookng at auctions and while I am not personally a person who has an interest spending time on landing an eBay deal,  I can see myself playing in this new areana.  Now since its origin is Europe, I had some difficulty understanding it. Once I thought I “got it” I developed an explanaton which you can see at www.dublian.com   The point is whether you are a multi-billion dollar business, an entrepreneur, or an employeed person with a company you feel is well established for the long term, don’t fall into the trap of complacency.  I’ll bet 6,500 people employed by Wachovia felt their position was secure until they discovered in the papers that their employer lost over $8 billion and was cutting their job. Nothing is permanent.  My strongest advise with every business is the same: be very aggressive in taking care of current customers and growing market share.  Do you think that advice would change under different economic conditions? It hasn’t and it won’t

4. If you are running a business with employees you should be very consistent on your expectatons for performance. It seems that when revenue and profits are under pressure, management starts taking a close look at employee performance. In some cases they don’t even care they just cut.  Just cutting is rarely justified and is analogeous to removing a body part if you want to lose weight. That approach is just plain stupid. There is no change in the guidance here: The formula is A-P=V  which stands for actual minus plan = variance.  There must be a person accountable for each key variance in your business. That is how their performance is measured. Is it a simple as that. Yes and no which is why companies engage my me and my firm for assistance.

5. If you are repsonsible for a business that is really feeling financial and cash flow stress, every day you wait to call for assistance is a waste of very precious time needed to define and execute a turnaround plan. I have written about this before and will write about it again because it is a fact. Please visit www.turnaround-consulting-firm.com or call me direct right now at 727-587-7871.

The blessing of a changing economy is that is results in an opportunity to re-evaulate how you are running your business and your life.  The people reading this either accept that they are responsible for what happens to them or blames everyone else. For a long time I had the mind-set it wasn’t me. Four years ago I concluded that mind-set was completely incorrect.

Accept The Responsibility and Take Action Starting Now!!

Sending all my readers the energy of wellness, peace and abundance.

Steve Pohlit
http://www.stevereports.com

Don’t Miss These Free Reports from my new business consulting site:

The Top 10 Action Stops That Will Make Your Business At Least 50% More Money in 90 Days or Less While You Spending Less Time Working Click Here For The Free Report

The Key Issues That Must Be Addressed Before You Buy Any Business of Any Size. Click Here For The Free Report

Steve is the President of International Business Consulting Resources. His firm specializes in guiding companies to rapid increases in revenue and profits with a sustainable growth rate. Don’t miss my FREE Report: How To Make More Money With Your Business Now and Long Term I am building my practice and welcome new client inquiries. Call me for a fee consultation at 727-587-7871 Remember many of my business building articles can be found at Steve Reports and my prosperity building tool (best tool ever for helping you manifest your goals and dreams) is The Prosperity Tool Chest and guiding articles posted very often at Prosperity Tip

5 Steps To Stop Insane Management From Driving Business Into The Ground

As a reminder the popular definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting the different  results”. Most companies continue to do business the same way and blame the economy and high gas prices on their declining business results when they should be looking in the mirror. There seems to be a strong undercurrent of “I am waiting for somebody to do something vs. I am responsible.”

The operative word here is most. There are sectors of the economy that have been hit by current conditions. I will leave that analysis to economist and academics. They have a lot more expertise in such matters and enjoy the intellectual debates of cause and effect. I have a laser beam focus on what individual companies can and should be doing to achieve their potential.

I am excluding from this article any company who is in serious cash flow difficulty. When a business gets to that point, crisis management… turnaround expertise is needed. MY firm International Resources does that work and we are very good at it. I always advise if you are in that situation, call me or a firm like mine right now as time is of the essence. My direct line is 727-587-7871.

What are “The 5 Steps To Stop Insane Management From Driving Business Into The Ground?”

1. Have a very clear profit plan at each line item of business performance. Measure actual performance against plan and have clear accountability for achieving the plan line item by line item. To implement this you must have timely, accurate and relevant information. No excuses…must have.

2. When people who are accountable for line item performance consistently fail to meet the stated goals, replace them. Period!

3. The number one function in a business that will be the subject of most of the excuses is sales. These excuses come from people who do not understand how to market to a consumer who places ever increasing importance on relationships. Why do you think the community building sites like YouTube, MySpace and Facebook are in the top ten most highly visited sites globally? According to Alexa, YouTube is 3 , MySpace is 6 and Facebook is 8 ) Every business must have a relationship driven marketing strategy and then implement it. See Relationship Marketing below.

4. Always be evaluating the market including on line competitors. I wonder if Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL in retrospect would have done anything different when Google first came to market?  No company is immune from being seriously weekend by competition. I look at the drugstore landscape. I live in Florida where competition is very active particularly for pharmacy prescriptions. A new format of drugstores was introduced not that long ago by Walgreens, CVS, and others with positioning of buildings with 24 hour drive through pharmacies on high cost real estate. Two things have happened with those changes. Prices skyrocketed to pay for real estate and relationships with the pharmacy customer has almost become extinct. Within this landscape I am aware of several privately held drugstores doing very well because of their attention to customer relationships.

5. Don’t push a boulder up hill. Some companies were never meant to be. People start companies or buy existing companies because they think it is a good idea. The only opinion that matter is the market. If your business was not all that strong in the past and you are basically doing everything right, the best action to stopping the profit leaks may mean closing the doors. If you are not sure Contact Me.

Reality Business: The following examples are taken from just one day’s experiences – today.

1. I was talking with a former client who is now a good friend, who told me they have exposure on a large receivable as it looks like the customer is going out of business. After asking two questions I understood that procedures installed during the consulting project were ignored. Insane management. This happens all the time where people make exceptions to sound business practices and then wonder what went wrong. Follow well founded established policies and procedures without exception. Does that mean nothing will ever go wrong? No, but the surprises will be fewer and far between.

2. During a meeting with a very successful fund manager I asked him if there was any one or two things that he attributes to his success. We were specifically talking about clients who transfer portfolios of $250,000 and higher to him from other firms. He said: “just two things: first I have a “high touch” approach which cements the relationship. The markets have been unforgiving lately. I increase my meetings with clients when competitors are shying away from making calls to people whose portfolios have been hit. Second I have marketing funnel to my target audience that has consistently worked very well.” I am not writing the details as this is proprietary but I will tell you this – you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.

3. I was invited to lunch at a very nice restaurant in Tampa. It has a fairly steep price tag for most of the selections. There were many tables available. Like nearly every other restaurant I have ever dined, regardless of price point, when I left they have no idea who I am and have no way of inviting me back. Insane management.

All in one day!!

Relationship Marketing:

I love talking about how easy it is for retail business to install a relationship marketing program. This is actually easy for every company, but most readers can relate to experiences with restaurants, grocery stores, dry cleaners, specialty shops and other retail stores. Just ask yourself when was the last time you received a thank you note, an incentive to come in for a special on a particularly slow day or a brief questionnaire asking you how they can serve you better? It happens. I listened to a story the other night about a business getting a fax every time it rains near the lunch hour from a nearby restaurant saying “It is raining. Our business will be slow today. Come in for a free Taco.”” Of course, nearly everyone will be buying more than one taco. But isn’t that cool and how hard is that to do?

Visit http://www.localretailmarketing.com for an idea on how you can begin strengthening your customer relationships. The information is free. My firm is not if you want us to do it for you. We get it done now which can be very valuable for you.

Accept The Responsibility and Take Action Starting Now!!

Sending all my readers the energy of wellness, happiness and peace.

Steve Pohlit
http://www.stevereports.com

Don’t Miss These Free Reports from my new business consulting site:

The Top 10 Action Stops That Will Make Your Business At Least 50% More Money in 90 Days or Less While You Spending Less Time Working Click Here For The Free Report

The Key Issues That Must Be Addressed Before You Buy Any Business of Any Size. Click Here For The Free Report

Steve is the President of International Business Consulting Resources. His firm specializes in guiding companies to rapid increases in revenue and profits with a sustainable growth rate. Don’t miss my FREE Report: How To Make More Money With Your Business Now and Long Term I am building my practice and welcome new client inquiries. Call me for a fee consultation at 727-587-7871 Remember many of my business building articles can be found at Steve Reports and my prosperity building tool (best tool ever for helping you manifest your goals and dreams) is The Prosperity Tool Chest and guiding articles posted very often at Prosperity Tip

The Exact Steps Required To Turnaround A Business That Is Cash Flow Negative (In Trouble)

I have led companies in the retail, real estate, transportation and restaurant industries from  near catastrophe to stability and profitable growth. Companies find themselves in a dire straits position for a multiple of reasons when the economy is strong as well as weak … more so when weak.

The current business climate is tenuous and an increasing number of businesses find themselves in a profit and cash flow crunch. If you or someone you know is in that position, time is of the essence. Literally every hour that passes is critical when a company’s profit and cash flow are on a downward trend. The faster action is taken to restore the business to a positive cash flow position, the more likely it can be further strengthened to renewed profitable growth.

The following steps are the major ones that I have guided clients through who have been in this situation:

1. Stop issuing checks until Step 2 and Step 3 are completed. The exception would be payroll and any utilities if you are at the point of being shut off if the bill is not paid. If you have a trucking company you have to buy fuel. If you are a restaurant you have to buy food. If you don’t have the funds to pay “life support costs and expenses” there are still options but they would have to be addressed on a case by case basis. You want to avoid getting to the point of not being able to pay the must have expenses.  There is a wide variation of the definition of must have items. The clients I have helped were very surprised at the literal definition of “must haves” but they thanked me later.

2. Be certain as to your exact cash and liquidity position. You need a very accurate snapshot of the free cash in your bank account, the quality of accounts receivables and a precise accounts payable listing that includes all invoices. You would be surprised as to how many companies do not know their actual cash position, ignore problems in their accounts receivable balances and forget that oftentimes there are bills sitting in unopened mail and desk drawers.

3. Develop an eight week cash receipts and disbursements forecast and don’t leave one cent off of the disbursements list. If you are not sure how to do this, there is an example at 10 Minute MBA This is a core schedule that I implement with all clients and is very valuable when used properly.

4. Document an organization chart with each person’s position and compensation.

5. If the business sells a physical product, it is important to evaluate the inventory. You cannot sell what you don’t have and you can’t replenish inventory if vendors have shut you off.

6. If there are debt agreements in place understand all debt compliance covenants.

7. Identify all critical support functions. For example, the company’s internet connection, maintenance agreements on machinery and equipment and key licensing agreements if any.

The goal is to have an accurate picture of all the facts no matter how dismal they are. I can’t tell you how many times I have been blind sided by additional pieces of information that were very important in finalizing the turnaround plan.

What Actions Are Typically Taken Once There Is An Accurate Picture of Situation?

1. Cut all non- essential spending and payroll.

2. Implement a temporary reduction in pay for as many people as possible. That is always difficult and may be impractical if there is a union or a large hourly workforce. Every situation is different but normally payroll has to be cut and it is often delegated to the outside consultant to handle.

Note: many of these steps are implemented quickly. Even while the entire picture is still being developed. That is where experience with these situations is very valuable. Experts with turnaround experience know how and where to act fast.

3. With people you want to take the action one time and then meet with those that remain and explain to them what is going on and how it is going to be fixed.

4. Vendors on the accounts payable list will need to be called and given a date when they can expect a workout plan. This is not fun work even for an expert consultant. However, whatever needs to be done to save the business and restore profitability should be addressed.

5. If there is a sales staff, look to move those people to full commission status and if possible add to the staff with full commission as the compensation package. Be careful if out of pocket expenses are paid. They have to be limited and per diems in place.

6. Assign clear accountability for collecting receivables and put in place a three step collection process. In certain cases discounts are negotiated for paying early.

Notice all the emphasis at this point is on cutting expenses and build cash once that process is in place then

Work on your building business and profits plan. Make sure it is realistic and focused on the next 90-180 days. When that is drafted including the financial projections you are now in a position to negotiate with bank debt holders, capital equipment lease venders and other long term lease agreements in place.

Some clients may need to file for chapter 11 reorganization. This should be avoided at all costs since it is very expensive, time consuming and a major distraction. However sometimes it is the only available option other than shutting your doors. Chapter 11 is usually the best answer where selling assets, selling the business or parts of the business is part of the the turnaround plan.

I hope this helps and while it addresses many points there are always more depending on the business. The following is right from my Turnaround Consulting Site

Do you worry about running out of cash?
Do most of your key vendors have you on COD?
Have checks issued by your business bounced?
Are revenue trends decreasing and accounts payable increasing?
Have any of your valued employees left for a “better opportunity”?
Are you spending all of your time fighting fires?
Do you wake up at night fearing you will be out of business?
Do you fear you will not have enough cash to meet your next payroll? What about the next?
Are you thinking or have been advised that a reorganization of your business under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy code may be the answer?

“If You Answered Yes To More Than One of These Questions, Then You Need To Call Steve Pohlit at 727-587-7871 Right Now. That Is My Direct Line. I Will Personally Determine If I Can Help You Solve Your Business Problems or Refer You To Someone Who Can. This Call Will Cost You Nothing and May Well Save Your Company.”

____________________________________________________________________

There are two reasons why companies ask me for business consulting assistance:
1. They know what to do but want an independent third party experienced business development consultant to drive the process as that approach demonstrates management’s commitment to achieving the goals.
2. Management understands the need for improved performance and understands they do not have the experience to implement what is required.
3. There is actually a third reason and that is where a business is in a crises situation and turnaround business consulting procedures need to be implemented fast. Nobody likes that situation, even the consultant. However, many companies can be salvaged with the right action. Think of the what goes into action when a person has a heart attack. Timing and action are the differences between life and death.

Be Well and Prosper,
Steve Pohlit
Business Development Consulting

Steve Pohlit has more than 20 years experience running very large and medium sized companies. Steve consults with clients to design and implement processes that will deliver improved business performance for the long term. Learn more about the process of Increasing Profits by 30% or More In 90 Days or Less by visiting 10 Minute MBA or you can call 727-587-7871 and speak with Steve directly. Have a question? Click Here To Visit Ask The Consultant