Survival strategy

The business community just can’t stop talking about how those overinflated dot-coms failed. Now companies are going out of their way to change their names so they don’t reflect anything close to a dot-com.

But, we must ask, did the business community learn anything new that its predecessors hadn’t already experienced and perfected into basic good business practices? Most business-minded people would argue that the dot-com era did bring about some unique business lessons, but we’ve gone back into what I call the survival mode for business.

You see this mode in almost all types and sizes of businesses across the United States. The boom is over and if you want to survive — let alone grow — you need to evaluate your internal and external processes.

Employee layoffs have hit companies big and small. Labor will always be a company’s biggest overhead, and when times are tough, labor is the first thing to be trimmed.

Job security is no longer a guarantee for anyone who cannot make a consistent contribution to the bottom line. Additionally, it means that internal restructuring must take place. Examples include cross training employees who can step in to handle a variety of jobs when people are out or during peak request time for certain products or services.

Unique business restructuring is also taking place. Companies are breaking their service or product into segments and subcontracting parts of the production or service out to respected and reliable businesses. Strategic business alliances are being formed locally, nationally and internationally.

At a recent training seminar I provided for a national company, I was asked what one thing a company can do during rough times that will have the biggest impact on its survival. The solution is very simple — remove all chairs from your business.

Companies are in what I call business pain. If you want to survive and/or grow, you need to know what your current or potential clients’ pain is. You must discover their pain, provide a solution, provide a fair price for the solution and actually deliver the remedy. If you don’t focus on this very important aspect by getting out of your chair and physically in front of current and potential new customers, you will not survive or grow.

Recently, SACS Consulting formed a strategic business alliance with Superior Staffing, which many consider a strong and quality service provider. We sold our pre-employment screening services to it so that we could focus on our strong niches (company policy development, drug testing programs, corporate training, security analysis and corporate investigations). Superior Staffing will, in turn, focus on its niches (temporary/permanent placement and pre-employment screening). We will work hard together to help each other grow.

In addition, I moved my company to the downtown area to be closer to many of my clients and to have more central access to clients present and future. The new address will help us brand ourselves with a bigger city (Akron) and reduce overhead.

Many business associates, once they understood the plan, thought it was a great idea. But there were a few that said they heard SACS Consulting was hurting or going out of business. We are fine, but if companies across the United States are laying off a national trend of 10 to 30 percent of their work force and spending less with their vendors and service providers, it will eventually trickle down to all other businesses.

Today, survival and pain must be part of our overall business plan and vision for our company, our current clients and our future clients. If your company does not embrace that knowledge and start to discover the pain in your business world, survival is not in your immediate business future.

You can’t do it at your office and you can’t do it effectively on the phone, so get rid of your chairs. Timothy A. Dimoff is president and founder of SACS Consulting and Investigative Services. He is also a speaker and author of four books and 12 nationally copyrighted training programs. He can be reached at (330) 255-1101, or via e-mail at [email protected].