Eliminate expenses and look for cash. Dump any assets while there was still value in them and get away from debt - this is painful.

Chances are, if you are reading this, you have already read some of my other posts concerning the melt down of the banking world and the financing challenges now facing small businesses. Problems, range from bankruptcy on one extreme to heart burn on the other, have plagued us all. Dwelling on the past and engaging in self-pity is normal, but we have to move on to the next fight. Delay wastes monetary resources (interest payments) and even worse, we lose the ability to get “our ox out of the ditch” and to get ahead of our competitors (opportunity cost). In my opinion, lost opportunity is the real crime because it never comes back. We must move on.


Identifying the banking “stinker” is easier now since we have the benefit of hind sight. (See earlier posts.) The hard part, after we all finish throwing stones at the villains, is (1) picking ourselves up and (2) moving forward. Now we have to rethink our concepts of “good” and “bad”. In addition, we have to factor in a world that is changing in exponential dimensions with emerging economic power houses, dwindling resources, out-sourcing of American jobs, population explosions, unstable governments, terroristic concerns… We need new ideas - a new road map; something that will re-spark our business and put us back in the game. It’s time to get out of the box.


So where do we start? Since I was in the real estate development world (you think your situation is challenging), my first move was emergency damage control. Eliminate expenses and look for cash. Dump any assets while there was still value in them and get away from debt - this is painful. Once stabilization was complete, I needed to look for signs of life in my industry. Finally, I needed a new game plan; something to set me apart from my competitors. The world is changing and this is a big task. I knew I needed help.


You have to be as creative as your situation defines. I knew I needed a new perspective and, by luck, I had an old friend in the market research business. So ran my dilemma past her. “My business model is broken, the fundamentals are there, but what are my buyers thinking?” Answers for the future are not always the tried and true ones we all used forever. I had to be prepared to re-think my problem with new terms and conditions. We looked at the demographics, surveyed my target market and created a new business model that would position me years ahead of my competitors. Short, painless, novel, effective! Today, we have to apply answers we would have thought preposterous 5 years ago. CONSTANT CHANGE is the only thing that truly remains CONSTANT!


With our compasses askew, what do we do? We start by asking for help from someone who has a fresh set of eyes. All of my friends and peers are faced with the same problems that I face. Most of their “oxen” are deeper in the “ditch” than mine and all they can do is share my pain. I am past crying and I got to to move on. Unfortunately, the hardest thing for us to do as humans is to ask for help/direction. That is clearly the first thing we should do. Research Design and Associates answered my questions. Put together your team that is balanced in the business world and focused on finding viable solutions. It works! Remember! Every problem has a solution, just be creative.

Next time, I will look at ways of dealing with the banking challenges, the necessity of a good plan and what pit falls to avoid. We will also look global issues, both locally and literally. Charles Darwin is alive and well, be sure you stay in front of his curve… Thanks for reading.


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