First off, forget budget-cutting and think about training your existing staff
In this market the common theme is to cut costs, restrict budgets, and focus on survival. We’ve witnessed many companies large and small running through this same drill but still ending up in trouble. The core issue in any political agenda or economic discussion is, and has been, job creation. Yet companies continue not only to shun job creation but also to concentrate on staff reduction. Taking the following steps will fuel growth that leads to new jobs.
1) Think Revenue, Not Budgets
Budget meetings and budgetary concerns can easily distract an entire executive team and alter values. Business owners forget that revenue creates budgets. Without revenue, it’s pointless to assess the budget over and over. The focus must shift fully on actions that will drive revenue to generate fresh income that can cover and exceed budgets. You can’t attain affluence by cutting expenses, so you must zero in on every item that can serve as a profit center and take methodical actions to make it so.
2) Measure Weekly
Quarterly numbers are important but not the best method of keeping your finger on the pulse and ensuring survival. Measure all key numbers weekly and keep a graph that shows what each statistic, such as income or number of sales, is doing from week to week. Measuring by week and managing by week can better help you avoid a catastrophe.
3) Survey to Clarify Needs
Survey your clients or prospective clients monthly so you can focus your efforts on what they need or want, which will give insight into what you should market and sell. We use short surveys created on Google Doc forms made up of five to seven questions and e-mail them as a link monthly. Give each survey a theme or topic. For example, you might compose a survey to find out what consumers like about one of your products. Instead of “yes or no” survey questions, create questions that encourage feedback so you can use that data to improve operations and deliver what your clients revealed they need or want. If you take the time to find out exactly what your customers will buy and ensure you are delivering those items, it will result in a less resistive path to revenue.
4) Train Intelligently
Create a training book for each position in your organization, including specific goals for each job. To help you formulate these guides, examine the actions of your best or most experienced person in each job area. Then create a training pack—a write-up of the position with all duties, functions, goals, daily routines, policies and procedures, and anything else relevant to that position. Include a checklist detailing the sequence of how to study the pack. It will dramatically reduce the time it takes to get a new hire grooved in and producing for your company. Of course, you can send employees to external training courses, as well, but the best knowledge is right within your organization.
5) Know Your Public
Take a look at who are the most successful customers for your company—the ones who mesh best for your own company and are the most profitable, easy to work with, and easy to sell and deliver to. Profile them to identify the common denominators. Then, create a defined profile for your ideal target customer. Focus all sales and marketing efforts only on companies and people who fit the audience you defined in the profile.
Once you’ve set the stage for increased revenue, you’ll find job creation is a pleasant side effect.
Robert Cornish is chief executive officer of Richter10.2 Media Group. The business, which started in 2008 “with zero capital,” now has 31 employees and reports that it expects to hire new people each month.