Utah State

Section 4

Loose Ends

If you have made it to this section, you may have a chance at survival if not success!

Rule number one in a post recovery business...Success will make you stupid. Just like a dieter losing 50 pounds, going off the diet and gaining 55 pounds, if you revert to the old business model you will be ruined.

Your previous experience should have taught you that in today's business world, lean and mean is the way to go.

We're now assuming that you have at least your head above water. You have cash coming in and are able to make payments for expenses and payroll. If that is not the case or if you have a relapse, go back to the prior sections and in the immortal words of W. C. Fields...

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no sense in being a damn fool about it."

Actions to Take

Decide your company's image

There's a reason that some people shop at Kmart and some people shop at Nordstrom's. Which company is better? Which company makes more money? Well, we're comparing apples and oranges. You need to decide what your market is and then attack it. Don't try to be all things to all people. Kmart shoppers will see you as out of their price range and Nordstrom's clientele will see you as cheap and shoddy and you will have nobody.

Assignment: Download the Positioning Matrix in the right hand column and decide where you fit.

Analyze your product or service
Now that you have your business placement pegged, look at your products and services and see how they fit or how they can be included in your strategy. If a product doesn't fit, even it it's profitable you may need to spin it off, or do something else because it will confuse your clients. For example, you market yourself as the Go-To place for gourmet pizza. Even if you make money selling sides of french fries, if you keep selling them you will never become the dominant pizza restaurant. Your clients will see you as that place that sells fast food. Then you fall into the grayness of the average food vendor.

Assignment: Justify the existence of current product lines and services. Analyze the Breadth (number of different offerings) and Depth (number of models within an offering). Detail how all of this fits into your business placement. Discuss it with your counselor.

The worst is over. Time to motivate.

Spend a little money on the employees even if you are the only employee. What?! That's right. It's now time to spend a little. There are basically three things that motivate employees; Money, Benefits and Recognition.

Money

This is the quickest, easiest and most tried and proven form of motivation however, it is the most expensive and eventually the most painful for you as a manager. You should only give raises in pay as a last resort. They are soon forgotten by the employee but you will pay for it forever. You should have an employee evaluation that you created earlier in this course. If you don't have one, create one as described in Section 1. Whenever an employee asks for a raise, go over the evaluation with them and set goals for improvement. Tell them when they have accomplished those goals you will consider the raise. Even better is to allow them to make more money through commission which benefits your bottom line.

Benefits

Some employees aren't as focused on salary as they are health care, retirement, and perks like company cars or a better parking place. Find out what your employees want and then find a way for them to achieve it in a way that benefits you, as well as making them happy.

Recognition

This is by far my favorite motivational method. It's the least expensive in the long term and it's the most fun. I have seen cases where wives have told their husbands to not change jobs because they knew at the new job the owner wouldn't be giving them a free dinner for two at an "expensive" restaurant about once a month or something similar.

Assignment: Download the Recognition Ideas list, read through it and send your counselor a couple more ideas to add to it.

Assignment: Download the Recognition Ideas list to the right. After reading through it, decide what you are going to do as far as pay, benefits and/or recognition programs to motivate yourself and your employees then, report it to your counselor.

You need to praise employees and praise without payment is empty. But, do it smart. Don't give raises. Give things like movie tickets or restaurant certificates for the employee and spouse. When to give them is just as important. Give the recognition as soon as possible. This ties the reward to the activity psychologically. Give the recognition in front of peers for a contribution that will make a difference, i.e.cost cutting or margin improvement. Always strive to build people up. Never tear them down.

Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat (SWOT) Analysis

In the right hand column is a SWOT Analysis worksheet. It will walk you through an analysis of areas of emphasis for your business.

Assignment: Download the SWOT Analysis work through it and send it to your counselor for suggestions.