Pyrotec, August 2020: As a business owner, you know about tough times – cash flow issues, not enough business, or not having the resources and systems in place to manage growth. There are many more, of course, but whatever they are, you need to know how to survive them.
At the helm of Pyrotec for the last 50 years, managing director Rowan Beattie has seen his share of tough times. ‘Our business has seen the rise and fall of the economy, the turnaround of our country’s political position, the introduction and explosion of technology, massive shifts in consumer expectations, and now a global pandemic. Through it all, we believe that we have remained steady in our approach to change, and have delivered on our promise of quality, trust, and innovation,’ he adds.
Here are Rowan’s seven top tips for surviving tough times:
1. Whatever you do, don’t standstill
Business owners need their heads firmly planted on their shoulders but not their feet froze in one spot. When disaster is looming, the worst thing you can do is nothing. Keep moving forward, making plans, and setting goals. If not, the situation will quickly get worse.
2. Take care of your staff
As Richard Branson famously said: ‘take care of your employees, and they’ll take care of your business’. Simply put, the key to engaging your customers is to engage your workforce. An engaged employee is more than just a happy employee.
3. Make cuts carefully
In times of panic, businesses may be tempted to make drastic cuts. However, this should only be done after careful consideration and planning. If the cuts are too deep, you may never recover and if they’re not deep enough, your expenses won’t reduce and your business will fail.
4. Never sacrifice quality
If you need to increase profit margins, look at adding value for customers in other areas of your business. But, whatever you do, do not skimp on quality. If a customer becomes dissatisfied with the quality of your product or service they will not continue to buy from you.
5. Focus on facts
Get a firm grip on your current situation by arming yourself with the facts. Particularly in tough times, decisive action is the name of the game and this is best done with facts in hand. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis is one way to identify what’s working and what isn’t.
6. Engage with your customers
Don’t allow your company’s troubles to trickle out to your customers. Keep communicating and engaging with them. You’ll learn a lot from talking to your customers and establishing what their needs are. You never know, this may lead to innovation and a change in focus that you hadn’t considered before.
7. Go big on business development
As Winston Churchill said during WWII, ‘never let a good crisis go to waste’. When times are tough, there’s no better time to focus on business development. Keep a positive mindset and put your energy into sales, winning contracts, and building your customer base. The key to flourishing during difficult times is not to simply work harder, it’s to work smarter.
To learn more about Pyrotec’s approach to business, visit www.pyrotec.co.za.