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Thinking Fresh for 2010

(February 2010) posted on Thu Mar 11, 2010

Thinking Fresh for 2010

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By Marty McGhie

Seven, cut costs somewhere: Set an overall goal to cut your costs by 1 to 2 percent of sales during this year. Get into the detail of your expenses and figure out a plan to make it happen—don’t just wish that it happens. This will be a hard one, but will be best accomplished by combining this step with the aforementioned budget step. Once you put together a plan, share it with everyone and commit to sticking to it. It might be in material costs, labor, sales and marketing—no one knows better than you.  

Eight, save something this year: Once you’ve implemented your budgeting and cost-cutting measures, you have the opportunity to accomplish another beneficial step on your list—saving some money. Open a separate savings account and begin to put some money away. I realize that times are difficult right now, so this amount may be a very small number. But establishing the precedent is the important part here. Get into the habit now of putting a little bit away, then when times get better, the amount can get larger. If the past year or two has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be much more prepared for tough times. There is no better way than to have cash saved away. 

Nine, host a sales conference: Let’s face it, sales people need to be loved. Plan at least one, if not two, major sales events that bring all your sales reps and perhaps even your company managers together. Invite a motivational speaker. Have open discussion about production issues that frustrate the sales team and vice versa. An open dialogue between production and sales can be incredibly useful in solving problems that otherwise go unaddressed. Treat everyone, sales reps and managers alike, to a nice dinner somewhere. The point is to create motivation and generate cooperation within your team. Whatever it costs in time lost or money spent will be well worth it. 

Ten, get out of town: Last, but certainly not least, take an extended break away from your business. Make it a week or perhaps even two. And when you get away, get completely away. Life is too short to be married to the business, and frankly, you probably aren’t as indispensible to the business as you think you are. Trust your team—they might make a few mistakes while you are gone, but so what? Trust me, they aren’t going to put you out of business. Go have some fun (you can thank me later). 

Out of the box
While you may not be inclined to adopt my entire list here, do as many as you can, or make up your own unique list of “out of the box” actions you want to take this year. Best wishes for all of us to have a prosperous 2010.

Marty McGhie is VP finance/operations of Ferrari Color, a digital-imaging center with Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Sacramento locations. The company offers high-quality large- and grand-format photo, inkjet, fabric, and UV printing.