Local Feature story

Downturn survival tips

Wednesday, 11 February 2009 ( #397 )
As businesses around the world struggle with the impact of the economic slowdown, there's plenty of good advice being offered. Forkliftaction.com will share some of these insights in the weeks ahead, starting with an insightful cover story from one of Australia's leading business magazines, BRW.

This week's magazine includes a comprehensive feature titled "10 Ways to Bulletproof Your Business". Here are the magazine's top tips:

1) Count the capital: Cashflow is once again king and it involves striking a balance between receivables, payables and inventory. Experts advocate pushing out payables as far as possible, raising the profile of the collection team for receivables and improving internal communication to avoid inventory stockpiles.

2) Smart marketing: The magazine cites from global accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers indicating that survivors of the last downturn kept advertising and marketing through the bad times. When competitors are slashing their marketing spend, smart businesses are boosting their investment. And what's more, because there's less "clutter", advertising becomes more effective.

3) Prepare for the recovery: Use the downtime to plan for expansion when the market turns. This is also the best time to be on the lookout for acquisition bargains.

4) Retain your people: BRW asserts that attracting and retaining talent is critical for organisations aiming to navigate the choppy seas ahead. Experts also advise companies to redesign jobs to better utilise their talent, rather than simply slashing jobs.

5) Obtain credit: Credit is still tight, so it's important to bolster relationships with the banks. BRW also advises businesses to consider other sources of finance, including debtor factoring or borrowing against their inventory.

6) Seek help: There are many sources of mentoring available - from business networks to professional business coaches - and these can provide valuable insight, advice and experience.

7) Customer focus: Customers want to feel confident that their suppliers will stay in business and it's important to maintain good communication along the supply chain so that there are no surprises.

8) Property aspects: The property market has also shifted markedly in the past year and tenants should consider their options. Businesses should consider selling any unneeded property assets before they are forced to do so.

9) Business planning: Business owners need to stop worrying and take a well-considered, pragmatic look at their business plan. This includes detailed planning for the short-term, under the current business conditions.

10) Reduce supply chain costs: Complex supply chains are rich with savings and efficiency opportunities. Businesses can renegotiate supplier contracts and review existing production and distribution arrangements. Improvements can also be achieved through better communication within the supply chain.

For the full report (available to subscribers only), see www.BRW.com.au.
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