Below is one of the blogs I recently posted within the Autotask Community blogs. If you are an Autotask user be sure to stop by the community often to participate in the amazing levels of interaction going on there. If you are not an Autotask user, well…
Top Eight Things To Consider As We Ponder An Economic Recovery
So are you ready for an economic recovery? Are you really ready? I know you are ready to see your pipeline fill back up, your AR go back up and especially your cash-on-hand go back up but, are you ready to scale your business for an influx of new business? It’s a legitimate question that you need to answer because if you are not, it could mean the difference between growth or implosion.
If you are like most IT services providers that have felt “the pinch” of the economic slowdown, then you have probably made at least one or more of the following changes to your business in order to survive:
· Minimized expenses including extra services, office space, advertising and maybe even staff
· Maximized productivity per employee (especially working owners)
· Increased debt and added credit lines
· Increased acceptance of work or customers that you normally wouldn’t consider
· Agreed to do work at prices lower than you normally would
If any of this sounds familiar, you need to have a plan in place now to correct them. Why? Because the recovery is likely to be felt in the IT sector prior to most other parts of the economy. You need to be position to thrive and not just survive.
Even if you are currently maxed out on resource utilization and low on cash, unless you start thinking pro-actively now, you’ll miss the boat when the tide turns. Here are eight suggestions of things you can do right now to prepare your business to scale:
1. Make a list of all your customers and / or services and pretend you had enough profits you could afford to cut some of the low profit or pain in the butt services and customers. Write it down and think about what that would be like. Nice isn’t it.
2. Don’t stop marketing! I’m not saying don’t cut back, I’m saying keep the marketing wheels greased. You may find demand for a high margin service and want to start pushing it quickly via marketing. If that happens do you have the media slots to drop that into?
3. Start recruiting. I’m not saying start hiring, but start recruiting. Having resumes or even interviews completed now will save you precious time later.
4. Free up credit. Not sure how you will pull this off but cash is critical when business in on the uptick. See if your vendors will open lines of credit now so you can have them when business picks up.
5. Accept credit cards. If adding credit to your business isn’t an option the extra 2.5% you spend on accepting credit cards so you can get the deals done may be worth much more than it costs.
6. Dream a little. I know many have gone into “survival mode” with their head down and blinders on just trying to make a living but now is the time to rekindle that entrepreneurial spirit and dream about what it would be like to build a much more profitable and stable business. What I mean is that this may be a time to “reset” your business model. If it is, consider focusing on managed services, SaaS or Haas if you feel you are ready. No matter what, don’t let yourself get buried in new work that doesn’t allow you to plan for or move you towards your long term goals.
7. Get trained. Utilize the “slow” time right now to get trained and prepared for future endeavors be it technology or business training, now is the time to learn.
8. Get help. Utilize one of the Autotask Community User Groups, a BIG peer group or some other resource to ensure you have relationships with other professionals available for assistance when business growth presents new business challenges.
I hope these suggestions help. And if anyone else has some ideas or experiences to share on this topic, please chime in.