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This is not advice. Items herein are general comments only and do not constitute or convey advice per se. The information contained in these articles is for guidance only and should not be relied upon without obtaining professional advice having regard to your direct circumstances.


Back to business basics

Market forces worldwide are causing a whirlwind of creative destruction for businesses and their owners. In order to avoid this destruction, the question is, how will you react to our current economic circumstances and how can you make the money that you’ll need to survive.

It is simply a matter of looking at events (no matter what they are) and reacting not in a negative way, but rather in a way, and from a perspective that uncovers value, upside potential and opportunity. With that in mind, a series of articles this year will dedicate time to getting “Back to Business” with proven strategies and tactics that have already and will continue to transform companies around the world and in every type of economy , including those affected by downturns like the one we find ourselves in now.

Not only will these strategies help readjust your entrepreneurial attitude, they will also help your business survive and thrive immediately – and will serve as the foundation for continuing growth well into the next economic spring and summer.

Firstly, you must realize that the needs of your customers and your market are different than those needs were a year ago, or even six months ago. With that on your mind, you will need to adapt to those different needs and change your business in direction of meeting those needs in order to survive. The new vision for your business should be highly focused and scaled to what your customers truly want. In these times, success won’t necessarily be based on what you want to offer, but rather what the market is telling you to offer.

You will also need to put an extreme focus on profitability. This may mean scaling back your plans for 20 locations nationwide to ten locations that run on higher profit margins.  Now is not the time to over stretch. In fact doing so could be seen as death for any business.

A laser-like focus on profit and operations will pay off big during the next economic spring. Not only will you be better positioned financially than your competition, you will also develop the discipline to stay close to your core business. While other companies will use the next boom to chase after any market or sell any product- you efforts now to pare down and narrow your focus will keep you from making the same mistakes.

In addition to a changes mindset and business focus, you’ll need to commit to marketing at every level of your business. This doesn’t mean buying high priced ads or newspapers or on TV. It means creating a marketing and sales oriented culture that runs your business. Through altering details – form how your team answers the phone, to how they greet customers and guide them through the sales process to developing a solid customer data base.

Focus, marketing mastery and numbers mastery will be crucial if you want to ride out this downturn. Put another way- It’s not your competition that is forcing the game this time. It’s the market- and although the market’s judgment is harsh, it is usually fair.

While I’m sure you’ve heard all of this before, you’d be amazed how many owners don’t do the simplest things that could make them successful. You simply can’t run a successful company without profit and without systemized ways to grow your customer base and keep them coming back.

The upside of all of this is that right now, the world’s economic stage is being set for the next big boom. When will it happen? Who knows? The point is that now is the time to get your own basics right so when the economic recovery hits full swing, you’ll be ready to capture even greater profits and success. SO start now and take the next few days to develop a new vision and plan for your company- based on what your customers, and the market is telling you.

The feedback could be the foundation for some of the best (and most profitable) decisions you could ever make for your company.

Brad Sugars
My Business February 2009


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