Business Solutions Forum: How can I ensure my company will survive in this confusing economy?

All industries can interact and communicate to help out each other – ours are no different. The Business Solutions column in our new Expert Network section is designed to be your personal business advisory sounding-board with experts from different business areas available to answer your questions. The format for this as with other Expert Network sections will not be unlike a “Dear Abby” for business; however, SNEWS® will expand the typical single columnist to tap into a broader panel of experts, many from among SNEWS readers. Together with experts SNEWS will offer a forum for readers to discuss a topic, chime in with their own ideas, and suggest different recommendations to a variety of business concerns or issues.
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All industries can interact and communicate to help out each other – ours are no different. The Business Solutions column in our new Expert Network section is designed to be your personal business advisory sounding-board with experts from different business areas available to answer your questions. The format for this as with other Expert Network sections will not be unlike a “Dear Abby” for business; however, SNEWS® will expand the typical single columnist to tap into a broader panel of experts, many from among SNEWS readers. Together with experts SNEWS will offer a forum for readers to discuss a topic, chime in with their own ideas, and suggest different recommendations to a variety of business concerns or issues.

Our inaugural Business Solutions expert panel is hosted by Ascent Advising, using contributions from several sources. Offer your input via the Chat area to add your comments or ideas to expand the forum into a lively, interactive, open discussion that we hope will benefit all.

Have a question you’d like our experts to answer? Email it to BusinessSolutions@snewsnet.com.


Q: I am totally confused by the current economy. What should I do to ensure my company will survive?

A: Although I’m no economist, I have studied the situation. The first thing to know is that this is not an economic condition we have really seen before. Guidelines that might have worked in previous downturns may apply – or they may not.

Recognize this is a cash/credit crisis, not a mortgage/Wall Street crisis. Yes, mortgages and Wall Street are affected, but cash and thus credit are more of the fundamental problem.

With this in mind, here is what I advise:

  • Be adaptable. This is not the time to have a ‘this is the way we have always done it’ attitude. Survival demands a willingness to change.
  • Be flexible. Being willing to adapt is a start, but design your business to be able to change quickly. Develop contingency plans in case what really happens is better or worse than what you assumed when you did your cash flow forecast. Speaking of that…
  • Watch your cash. Remember, cash is often far different from profit. If you have a budget, that’s great. If you have a cash-flow forecast that results from that budget, even better. Know how much cash you have, how much you will generate, and how much you will need. Strive to have a positive cash flow (you generate more cash than you use). If you have a negative cash flow and you can’t fix that, work closely with those that provide your funds (your lender or investor, for instance) to make sure they are going to be willing and able to support your cash needs.
  • Don’t plan for failure. If your plan focus on preventing failure, failure becomes more probable. If your plan is focuss on maximizing the probability of success with the full awareness of the risks involved, it will be more constructive.
  • Prioritize cash outflows. Think of every expense as an investment. Focus on those expenditures with the best return. Be sure to balance expenses with benefits in the short term with those expenses that will realize benefits in the long term.
  • Don’t hunker down. If we all cease all spending and we put all of our customers on COD, not only will our businesses be heading for disaster, but we will be magnifying the problem.
  • Pick your partners. Having a solid team of suppliers and customers is extremely wise at this time. Make sure you aren’t overly dependent on firms that are not acting wisely given the economy.
  • Engage your employees. They read the news; they know we are all in tough economic times. And they may have suggestions for how to weather the storm. When we keep secrets we only support the rumor mill and people will assume the worst. If we gather ideas and suggestions from everyone, we have a better chance of producing the magic recipe for success.

Have a question you’d like our experts to answer? Email it to BusinessSolutions@snewsnet.com.

Ascent Advising provides wide-ranging business advisory services to companies around the globe, coming alongside business owners and executive teams to define and achieve even greater successes. Its email newsletter, “Adages from Ascent,” discusses innovative concepts for running a business. For a free subscription, and to view past issues of the newsletter, visit AscentAdvising.com and follow the link for “Adages from Ascent.”

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