Hard economic times provide excellent strategic opportunities for entrepreneurs who are willing to buck conventional wisdom.
Garrett B. Gunderson, Author of Killing Sacred Cows, Overcoming the Financial Myths that are Destroying Your Prosperity, has helped guide hundreds of successful entrepreneurs on unconventional paths to business and personal success. Here is what Garrett is currently advising his clients:
- Raise Salaries.
- Spend More.
- Meet Less.
- Stop Saving for Retirement.
- Put All Your Eggs in One Basket.
- Go Back to School.
- Raise Salaries
When so many employers are reducing their workforces and cutting salaries, step up by showing your employees how much you value Human Capital and give them raises. Employees, contrary to conventional accounting wisdom, are assets, not liabilities.
Savvy entrepreneurs recognize that each dollar invested in raising salaries during economic hardships leverages the loyalty and productivity of employees far more than handing out comparable raises during boom times.
Now is the time you need to get the best out of your people. Increasing their salaries demonstrates strength, vision, and importantly, gratitude for their contribution to your success.
- Spend More
Some great bargains are available now, for those who have the courage to nab them. Many assets are undervalued and can be acquired at discounted prices, be they inventory, fresh hires, office supplies or even real estate for future expansion.
For instance, we were able to secure a nicer office space for much less rent and cut our office lease expenses by 20% this year.
It is far more conducive to wealth creation to focus on increasing your production, rather than on slicing your expenses.
Spend where your money will have the most impact.
- Meet Less.
Control freaks meet. In good times, this inefficiency is easily glossed over. But now is the time to empower your people, set clear expectations and boundaries, and then get out of their way.
Instead of sitting around in meetings talking to one another, encourage your employees to get out and improve contacts with customers and vendors. Your team members can’t spot any market opportunities passing time in your company conference room.
- Stop Saving for Retirement
The best pension plan is simple: be successful. Although qualified plans are sacred cows, you can’t afford to lock your money up in retirement plans now when liquidity is so essential.
Ultimately, your business is a far better investment than a 401(k) anyway, especially since it can provide ongoing cash flow without the worry of depleting principal. Invest in yourself and in your business. By improving your liquidity, you’ll have cash to fund your enterprise and seize opportunities created by the economic dislocation of others.
- Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
Let others worship at the alter of diversification. Now is the time to take a long, hard look at your business’s core reason for existing—its so-called Soul Purpose—and focus all your resources and energies on it.
Who are you? Why do you exist? Who do you serve? What can you be the best in the world at? Stay true to yourself in hard times and shed the excesses you’ve allowed yourself along the way.
- Go Back to School
Forget what you think you know about business, marketing and the economy. The world is constantly changing and fortune-makers will use slow business periods to bolster their education and leadership skills.
The most successful entrepreneurs I know are those who are constantly reading, attending seminars, engaging with mentors, and exposing themselves to new adventures and ideas. This is even more imperative when the difference between those who weather the economic storm and those who don’t may well be the extra edge and contacts that continuing education provide.
While others are downsizing, cutting back, floundering, and desperately trying to diversify, you should be building your people, spending more money on the right things, thriving by being on the cutting edge through education, and maintaining laser focus on what you do best.
How Success Leaves Tracks
When I began searching for the secrets of success many years ago, I discovered an interesting principle: success leaves tracks. A wise man who had studied success for more than 50 years concluded that the greatest success principle of all was, “learn from the experts.”
Learn From the Experts
If you want to be a big success in any area, find out what other successful people in that area are doing, and do the same things, until you get the same results. When I studied the interviews, speeches, biographies and autobiographies of successful men and women, I found that they all had one quality in common. They were all described as being “extremely well organized.” They used their time very, very well. They were highly productive and they got vastly more done in the same period of time than the average person.
Be Both Effective and Efficient
High performing men and women were both effective and efficient. They did the right things, and they did them in the right way. They were constantly looking for ways to improve the quality and quantity of their output. As a result, their contribution to their organizations was vastly higher and therefore much better paid, than the contributions of the average person.
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action:
First, develop a study plan today to learn from the experts in your field. This can save you years of hard work.
Second, decide what is the most important thing to do, and then decide how to do it.