Friday, July 24, 2009

Ideas To Deals: Put Yourself Beyond the Possibility of Defeat

Ideas To Deals: Put Yourself Beyond the Possibility of Defeat

By Michael Bowers - SBDC

Have you been watching the news and seen where the economy is showing signs of recovery? I'll admit it appears the economy may have hit bottom but how quickly will we see it begin to move up? I would say we are in more of an "L" shaped recovery than a "U" of "V" shaped recovery. Sure companies that have been putting off purchases are getting to the point where they have to start buying but sales cycles are being still stretched as companies try to manage cash flows and extend scarce resources. This is still a critical time to be strategic, now is not the time to take you foot off the gas and coast.

200px-Wall_Street_film Even though I run the risk of going all Gordon Gekko in Wall Street on you, here are some lessons from "The Art of War" that may help your business.

"True excellence is to plan secretly, to move surreptitiously, to foil the enemy's intentions without shedding a drop of blood." Strategic thought and preparation is what will move your business forward. Where is the market going and how do you position your business to be there? I've often heard that Wayne Gretzky was such a great hockey player because he could see what was going to happen two to three steps ahead and he could position himself to be ahead of the play and the other players. You need to do the same thing. Where do you want to be in 12 months...36 months...60 months?

"Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated." Knowing your business, knowing your capabilities, knowing your market, knowing your customers, knowing what you have to offer will allow you to proceed with confidence and make the best decision for your business. You need to touch and re-touch every relationship in your business to build your knowledge. I have seen examples of long standing business relationships that have gone out the window not because of performance problems but because of budget problems on the other side. Knowledge allows you to make the best decisions for your business and not make mistakes.

"Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position that makes defeat impossible and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy." Another critical relationship is with your bank. To often small business owners feel that they are the weaker player when it comes to their banking relationship but that is not true. Be proactive and go meet with your bank. Ask the tough questions about THEM and their status. Know what they are looking for and what their appetite is for various types of loans. Take this information and and use it when you are ready to go for financing.

"Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterward looks for victory." Preparation is the key. Good entrepreneurs are not risk takers, they are good are recognizing risk and mitigating the risk. Preparation reduces risk. Preparation leads to success.


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