Bulletproof Your Business
The swimming pool industry is fortunate to be busy during these times, in some cases busier than usual. With families staying home this year, homeowners are investing in backyard upgrades and maintenance. In other fields, it saddens me to see smaller businesses closing indefinitely and even some of the bigger brand stores closing locations or filing for bankruptcy. None of us could have prepared for our current situation. However, what can we do to prevent something similar from happening to us? How can we prepare for rainy days? This isn't new to us, if you've been in the industry for over 10 years you know what it's like to survive a recession.
YWe don't like to hear this but cutting expenses is a good starting point. Analyze your budget to determine what items to eliminate. There will be business essentials but we are all guilty of wasteful spending. If the cutting back of expenses or increase in business provides extra revenue, use these funds to pay off debt. Especially high interest credit cards and any financed work tools. It's better to own these items out right, so when things slow down you don't have the extra payments. Work on gathering a solid financial reserve. Most financial experts recommend that you have three to six months of living expenses saved. I know it sounds like a lot but with planning, it's doable.
Evaluate your workload, if help is needed to maintain good quality service, consider hiring help or promoting within. Invest and take care of your employees. They represent your company; provide the appropriate tools and support. Find ways to work smarter. How can you accomplish more with less? Some customers are avoiding in person meetings, how can you change your business to cater to them? What practices can you apply that will meet the customers' needs and increase productivity? If you're doing service, consider sending a monthly email or note to your customers along with the invoice. Provide an update on your services and suggest potential repairs or upgrades. If you're a builder, think of ways to use technology to better serve your customer or be more efficient. Don't be afraid of technology, it's not going away, it's only getting smarter. Learn how to use it to your advantage.
Finally, set aside some planning time for the items above and the future ahead. They say difficult times mold us; things may be hard right now, however with determination we will emerge stronger. We will learn some new things and in some cases, the way we do business may change for the better. My advice is not to let change scare you, instead embrace the change and find.