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Business $ense How to boost profits in a lean market

Kamran Khosravi

By Kamran Khosravi

In this market, many business owners are struggling and some are losing hope. How do you make it through this market downturn when you see an influx of vacant properties?
The ordinary way of thinking is to first cut back on expenses and then begin layoffs. You may even consider letting go of key people in order to make it, not thinking that those key people could help and prosper during good and bad times if managed effectively. Let’s talk about a different plan.

Discover the Missing Link
Every 30, 90 and 180 days, evaluate the business operations. Review the business plan and see what worked during that period and what didn’t. Sounds simple, but the key is in writing a new plan. If you enrolled everyone in a plan for 90 days, they gave 110 percent , and it still failed, remember the old saying, “you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.” Take time to do some discovery before writing a new plan. Discovery is difficult for most business owners or executives because sometimes absolute involvement can limit one’s vision.
To discover what is missing, you may need to bring in someone from the outside, such as a business consultant or colleague that is removed from the organization. This person can bring clarity to the organization because they don’t have any ties to anyone, practices or procedures within the business and should have experience with business plans for many corporations. They will help discover what is missing in the plan. It could be a partnership not yet discovered, a new product that could be offered, a method not yet thought of, etc.
After you discover what is missing and have input from all team members, declare that 90 days complete and start a new plan. When I say declare it complete, I mean that within the next 90 days, do not bring into any conversation, negativity or the failure of the last plan. Look at every period as a new beginning for the staff and company.
To execute your plan effectively, you need to clearly state goals and objectives, enhance communications skills, acknowledge staff frequently, and seek a mentor and coach for the CEO and key management.

Clearly State Goals and Expectations
Before the next 90 day period begins, you need to be clear to yourself and your staff as to your goals and the level of commitment you need from yourself and from them. As the CEO, manager or team leader, enrolling them in the plan is critical.

Enhance Communications Skills
Are you an effective communicator and active listener? If you are not strong in this area, then elect someone within the organization to take on that role. You may think you have an excellent plan, but if the staff doesn’t feel like it addresses their concerns and the plan isn’t communicated clearly and create excitement within the organization, then it has a good chance to fail.

Acknowledge Staff Frequently
Yes, we all know that everyone likes to be acknowledged. During these times, everyone is on edge, worried about their jobs, worried about making mistakes, worried about paying bills, etc. A simple sign of appreciation can go a long way and increase work efforts. Compliment enough people within the organization and a synergy can result making the sum of their increased efforts greater than individual efforts.

Seek a Mentor and Coach
A business strategy often overlooked is the importance of a mentor and coach for the top professionals in command. They are guiding a business, with no one to guide them. They can be more effective if there is someone who can listen to them and be committed to their success. As a CEO, spending a few hours per month with a business coach will allow you to share issues that you cannot discuss with your staff and hold you accountable to your promises. A coach can also help you with business plans, discover missing links in the organization, define and communicate clear goals and expectations and communicate more effectively with staff. Then, after 90 days, you start the process all over again.

Kamran Khosravi is an internationally recognized business coach and speaker and is the winner of the Orange County Register Business Executive of the Year Award. He is also principal of Pardis Group, a business coaching, management training and public relations consulting firm located in Irvine. To learn more, call (800)-455-1355 or visit pardisgrp.com.

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