Business Hero Strategies
Small Business Flight Plan
by Larry Moulton, Desert Community Bank
“I see a lot of change, a lot of opportunity. We're not just talking about taking the advances of the past and suffusing them out into 100 percent of companies. We're talking about new waves, and new ways of thinking...and that's going to keep all of our jobs very, very exciting.” - Bill Gates
First of all let me say that I am not a pilot. The comparisons I will make to flying are the result of my own perception, which I believe will be helpful for small businesses as they navigate through today’s troubled weather.
For most small business owners the things they are encountering today are different than any they have witnessed over the last several years. We are in the midst of a truly terrific storm that is pounding away at the principles we have lived by for many years. So does this mean we are at the end? Is it all over? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Small business owners today simply have to be smarter if they want to survive. I have some thoughts about how to be smarter using comparisons to an airline flight.
#1 You need to have a flight plan. Where is your business today, and be honest about this. Where are you flying to? What do you want your business to resemble over the next year, two years, five years? And, most importantly is how will you know when you have reached the end of this particular journey? These questions all require deep digging into your business plan, your financial history and projections. You also need to have a system to measure your successes and failures and a plan to respond to both.
#2 You need to check your equipment. Are all the tools of your trade in good order? Are your systems recording, tracking and reporting the information you need to make good decisions? Is outdated equipment hampering your efforts to do better? Now may not be the time to spend money for new equipment, but you should repair what you have, and prepare for the right time to invest in what you need.
#3 Lighten the load. Are you carrying around “dead weight”. This may refer to employees, systems, vendors, and even physical attributes. What can you do today to be more efficient? What can you do today to streamline your business?
#4 Staff Development. Are all of your employees trained to do their jobs well? Do you need to spend time and maybe money to enhance their abilities? Do you have the right employees assigned to the right jobs? This will lead to enhanced morale and more loyal employees.
#5 Pilot and Co-Pilot know and do their jobs. You wouldn’t get into an airplane if the pilot didn’t know how to fly, or if he was sick, the Co-Pilot wasn’t able to take over for him. This goes back to staffing again. Have the right people in the right positions with the right assignments. Also, you need to have a Co-Pilot. Who can handle your business when you are not available? Who do you trust to run your business the way you would. You need to find someone so that you can enjoy life.
This is a difficult time to be a small business. But, it is also a great time to reinforce your market position, promote your business to new customers and to consider new markets to enter into. The businesses that will survive are looking forward and saying, “How can I be a better company when this is over?” Dig Deep, Pull out the information you need and then make those tough decisions. That is why you went into business in the first place. You wanted to be the boss. Now step forward and LEAD. Have a great journey.
Larry Moulton is Marketing Manager for Desert Community Bank, a Service-Oriented bank. Please take a look at their website that features three new video shorts by Jim Howard, President.
Desert Community Bank