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All clouds have a silver lining

Have you ever had the thought at the back of your mind that there are processes in your business that could be improved?

Often you know what these operational inefficiencies are, but there never seems to be enough time to act and improve them. When times are good, and sales are rolling in, nobody really cares. You’re profitable and cash-rich. All stakeholders are happy: Investors, management, and even staff.

Now we find ourselves in a new situation: Sales are way down, and those inefficiencies are now apparent. It’s hard to be profitable when you’re not making a considerable amount of sales, and your cost of sales is high.

The other thing that has happened is that you have a lot more time on your hands. Sales are not coming in at a manic pace anymore, so you have more time to think about your business. There is more time to work on your business, as opposed to always working hard in your business. 

The slowdown can be the silver lining in this dark cloud. 

The question is, what are you going to do with this extra time? You can sit in your office and worry about the future. But worrying seldom solved any problems. It just serves to paralyze you. A very effective way to solve problems is to get into action. Doing always trumps thinking. And the stuff you should be doing right now is work on your business.

So what are those inefficiencies that you’ve observed in the past? Can you get some processes improved now? Is now the time to implement a software tool that will help your whole team be more productive?

It’s probably best to focus on one issue at a time. I suggest you work with the Pareto Principle. Make the 20% change that will bring an 80% improvement. Perhaps you can only implement one software tool. Make sure it’s one that counts: One that will make a significant impact today.

Spend the time to get the implementation right. Make sure your staff gets adequately trained up. Make sure you and your executive team understand how to leverage the new tools to make a difference. The time spent on this now will forever have a positive influence on your business.

Think about it: If your business can get so efficient now, while sales are down that you return to profitability, imagine how much more profitable you’ll be once sales return to high levels.

Working on your business is like getting compound interest. A small bit of investment every day quickly adds up to vast improvements over time. If you can make one positive impact every day, even if it’s small, you’ll have a massive improvement in a year.

Spend your time wisely. Either you can sit and worry in the corner, or you can get into action and start working on your business today. Guess which companies are going to get out of this financial downturn better?

Content published on Barry Kukkuk LinkedIn

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