Be honest. It may sound simple but it’s the best way to conduct business. When dealing with partners, associates, employees, and vendors, share with them pertinent information—even though it may be uncomfortable. When be was forced to make across-the-board budget cuts, I clearly communicated the financial state of the company with every employee from the receptionist to our senior management team. Not surprisingly, they understood. Just as important, they all played a role in controlling costs.
Don’t hide from creditors, even though you may be tempted to. Avoiding the phone is no way to run your business or your life. They will eventually find you, and you’ll probably wind up losing a service that’s critical to the operation of your business. Instead, talk to them and work out a new timetable for paying your bills. Manage, even lower, expectations. If you tell a creditor you’re going to pay by a certain date, stay true to your word. Instruct and monitor your staff so that they are honoring such agreements. Don’t let your rep be sullied by others’ actions.
Review all contracts. The current environment offers leverage to correct ill-advised decisions you may have made in the past. A number of business owners enter into agreements with terms that may hobble their enterprises in the long run. Evaluate whether you need to keep certain services as well as renegotiate terms in your favor.
Continue to maintain and build relationships while managing through hard times. Contact business mentors for advice. Visit clients who may be facing the same struggles. Find associations and organizations that can help you identify resources and assistance within your industry. Use these contacts to produce contracts.
I strongly believe that if you stick with your core values during these tough times, it will serve you well when the economy rebounds. So while others debate, take action now.