Wednesday, October 27, 2010

7 Steps to Turnaround Your Business

Thanks once again to Bill Donnelly of Bac2Profit for his second guest post, featuring some critical greta ways to refocus, get back in control, and back in control.

1. Stabilize Your Environment – simply put, maintain positive cash balances at all times. Sign for all obligations and sign all checks.

2. Discipline – instill the discipline to act, target results and be accountable with NO exceptions. Instilling superior discipline teaches others to act as you would act.

3. What is causing the problem – sales declining? Profit margins eroding? Expenses increasing? Losing key customers? Here you need an adequate financial reporting system to make the thorough comparative analysis to diagnose the problem and begin to formulate solutions. The use of financial ratios to look at performance for the last 3 years is critical.

4. Get back to profitable lines – whether product or services, rebuild and restructure around the most profitable, albeit smaller, lines of business. It is more important to get smaller and profitable than get bigger at this stage.

5. Prepare a turnaround plan – be practical, conservative and realistic. You will need to convince the bank and your creditors you will make it. Your plan has a realistic chance of succeeding. Your narrative should be detailed and in-depth and cover sales, operations, cost savings and how they will get paid. All backed up with comprehensive financial and cash flow projections.

6. Negotiate – you will most likely need your bank and creditors to restructure their debt. This will take time and your personal attention. Do NOT make a deal that puts you and the company under undue cash flow stress.

7. Execute, execute, execute – now is the time to make good on all the hard work you have done to this point to save the business. The focus of execution is disciplined decision making, results oriented thinking and tireless accountability to the mission.

Once you have gotten the business back on its feet you have one last decision to make – grow it or sell it. Your choice.

Friday, October 22, 2010


The Organization for Entrepreneurial Development has announced it will  award a $500 grant to a select small business on December 1, 2010. OED is  seeking a small business impacted during these troubled economic times that  has taken creative steps to keep going or stabilize.

What have you done to put out immediate fires while positioning your business for success during the recovery? Please tell us your story. OED knows that many business owners have been struggling to simply keep the doors open. Whether you've cut costs and /or consolidated, collaborated with other businesses, shifted  to a new opportunity area; we want to hear from you. If you started your business in this down economy we'd like to hear from you.

Applications will be accepted through November 15, 2010. Recipient will be announced December 1st.

We encourage you to share this opportunity with other business owners, be they vendors,  clients, or neighbors, who've also faced these tough times. Sometimes  strengthening another business is the best way to strengthen your own.

Apply, and then pass it on! We look forward to hearing from you, learning  from you, and rewarding you.

Below is the link to the application form:

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Hate My BlackBerry (Droid, I Phone...) or Am I an Instrument of Efficiency

Thanks to Bill Donnelly of Bac2Profit for snapping us back to reality on some basic business etiquette.
I’ve just finished watching a commercial for a new Droid phone (you can put another name in its place). Am I to believe I can be more efficient and more effective by answering emails IN THE MIDDLE OF A MEETING?

I have so many issues with the commercial and what it attempts to sell I want to SCREAM! Let’s start with:
1. Simple respect – to take a call or answer an email during a meeting or presentation is just rude. Have we forgotten manners?

2. Listening – by taking your attention from the meeting and the issue being discussed you CANNOT be listening. If you are not listening, how can you be engaged?

3. Distraction – if you think answering a call or answering an email is not distracting to others, you are kidding yourself. If you are their distraction, how can they be listening?

4. Focusing – what is your definition? Clearly, it is different than mine.

What I believe is we are not more efficient or effective with all this technology around us. How many times a day while working on a project do you read and answer new “urgent” emails as they arrive? How many times a day do you answer your mobile phone when it rings to take an “urgent” call from a friend or significant other? How often do you stop what you are doing to sneak a peek at your Facebook account or personal email?


Let me be clear, technology has helped make me be better but most of us have let it take control of us because we BELIEVE we are being more efficient and effective.
1. Leave the devices behind. Respect the people in the meeting. Their time is valuable too.

2. Pay attention and listen. If it’s that important someone will interrupt the meeting and believe me, IT’S NOT THAT IMPORTANT.

3. Set an example. If you pay attention and listen you cannot be the distraction. Others will follow your example.

4. My definition of focus is simple, being able to understand, ask pertinent questions, challenge where appropriate and come to a conclusion or decision. Finishing the task at hand.
It’s about doing one thing at a time and doing it to the best of your ability. Put away the ________ (you fill in the blank) where appropriate. Listen, focus on what is right in front of you and become THE Instrument of Efficiency.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is Small Business Credit Starting to Open?

A story headlined "Small businesses get a nearly $1-billion boost from U.S." was published today by the LA Times. It opened, "The infusion comes in the form of about 2,000 SBA loans totaling $970 million that had been held up for months in Congress. California businesses will get about 10% of the loans." It further stated, "Nearly 2,000 loans worth $970 million have been approved for small-business owners across the nation, the Small Business Administration said Tuesday."

Have you seen any opening in the small business credit markets yourself, or are edgy banks still slow to open the reserves for small businesses?

Share your feedback below!