In keeping with Election Day in the
Let’s get right to the point and define what an Economic Stimulus Plan should do for your business. Most of us will agree that any plan should accomplish the following objectives simultaneously:
- Generate More Cash Today
- Generate More Cash Tomorrow
Pretty simple, right? If you have been following this blog, you know that my bias is to develop Profitable Growth plans that accomplish both of these objectives at the same time. You should be working on how to be more profitable today and how to grow profitability in the future every day. It’s critical for your employees, partners and stakeholders to be aligned with and to understand their roles in your company’s Profitable Growth strategy.
So where can you start today to attack both objectives? Try starting by answering the following Six Questions as a first step. Also included are references or suggestions for more detail on HOW to answer individual questions.
Question #1: Can you identify the best customers to sell to now and in the future?
The first step is to understand who your Most Valuable Customers (MVCs) are. Try an exercise with your sales team to begin to reveal who they are and why you should be focusing more on these types of customers.
See this link for some ideas: http://www.allbusiness.com/11550344-1.html
Question #2: Do you know what kinds of products and services they want?
Next, now that you have an understanding of who your MVCs are, you and your sales team need to really understand more about their changing desired and needs
See this link for more information: http://www.allbusiness.com/company-activities-management/financial-performance/11548979-1.html
Question #3: Can you compare your products to your competitors’ products in terms of price, delivery, key features, and model by model? Can you do the same for the industries and markets you serve?
The best way to do this step is to make a Competitive Matrix: List your company and your major competitors on the left column with key products identified individually on their own row under each, then identify as many key benefits or features as you can on the top row. Now do the research to compare how your company stacks up against your competitors. The result is the beginning of an understanding of your Competitive Advantage.
Question #4: Do you know the specific reasons you are losing orders to competitors for every known lost order in the last year?
The key to answering this question is to develop a Lost Order Analysis process for every order or quote your company loses. The goal is to make sure you understand why the customer chose a competitor or made another decision regarding the sales opportunity. Sales people dislike this drill but it is a best practice in growing firms of all sizes and in all markets.
Question #5: Do you know if you are making adequate margins on each product line, model and job?
Start by having a long talk with your accounting department about your company’s real knowledge about costs and margins on every job your do or every product line you produce. If it is apparent that your knowledge of costs and margins could be better, then this becomes a major priority because you need transparency into costs and margins data to manage your business to grow profitably.
Question #6: Do you know your next market and the opportunities and challenges it represents for your company?
This question is all about your vision for growth. You need to have a reasonable idea of where new opportunities are continuously; otherwise you’ll just be a member of the pack and probably run over by your competition.
Answering these questions will provide the basis for dveloping your own Economic Stimulus Plan that will benefit your company immediately. I’d like to thank
Charlie Alter owns Bentbrook Advisors LLC based in Sylvania, OH – he specializes in Growth Strategy Consulting & Executive Coaching, Charlie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org