Business needs to go with the times

2008-07-09 00:00

In lean times, business has two simple choices: adapt or die.

For now, the party’s over and the new game is about survival. Only the toughest, the sharpest and the fittest will survive the stormy times ahead.

It’s time to get real and adopt a strategy to maximise efficiency, cut costs and wastage, and focus on the basics that will carry you through as competitors fall by the wayside. But how do you do it?

The current economic climate calls for a drastically changed mindset, says Reana Rossouw, a business consultant who has produced winning strategies for such icons as Mweb, Vodacom and the Shuttleworth Foundation’s Hip to be Square campaign.

“First, this is not the time for high-risk ventures normally associated with a business growth strategy. You need to tighten your belt and ensure that all systems are working with maximum efficiency to improve profitability.

“If you can’t increase your sales, you must look for other ways to make your business profitable.”

Second, she says, it’s time to go “back to basics”, looking at all your resources — especially the effectiveness of sales staff — and going back to your old customers.

“It’s a question of how much more you can do with what you’ve got,” says Rossouw.

Then you must also be sneaky. This means you must find out what your competitors are doing, and where the market lies. At the same time you must be extremely focused, creative and innovative — qualities that many businesses have ignored as the profits came rolling in during the good times.

“In bad times, it’s vital to be creative in order stay ahead of the pack,” she adds.

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