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Keeping Your Business Healthy in a Down Economy

(May 2009) posted on Wed May 20, 2009

If the economic downturn has left you with extra time on your hands, why not use it to look for ways to strengthen your company? Follow the ten guidelines presented here to find new business opportunities and keep your company profitable.

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By Mike Ukena

It is hard to ignore the rumor mill. We are all interested in what’s going on with our competition and customers. The important thing is to put the information into perspective and not let it run your business or your life. Teaching your staff the same restraint makes for a healthier, more productive workplace.


Never take orders at a loss

Take this principle with a grain of salt. No one runs a business with the intention of losing money. At times, it may be necessary to work for less than you want. But the key is to not make a habit of it. Accepting orders that don’t add to your bottom line should be an occasional exception. Don’t use these kinds of orders as an excuse to keep your shop busy.

Printers are often asked by their customers for pricing favors. The question is, how fast should you hold to your pricing policies? In some instances, you might be justified in discounting more heavily than normal in order to keep the customer and get more lucrative jobs in the future. The best approach is to weigh the cost of possibly losing that customer against the loss you would face by accepting the low-priced order. In general, keep these special pricing arrangements to a minimum. Don’t take work at a loss, but be flexible enough to realize when making less now could mean a greater payback in the future.


Never expand production capabilities without thorough research

The biggest mistakes in business are often those that occur when an idea is implemented without thorough research. These mistakes occur when you buy a machine without finding out if you have the order volume to keep it busy or when you buy a large quantity of substrate in the hope that enough orders will materialize to use it. Many businesses make the mistake of expanding their capabilities without adequate research, which is why you see so much barely-used printing equipment up for sale.

Determining what the market needs and what it will pay are essential ingredients for a successful expansion plan. While it is difficult to fully anticipate the precise degree of demand and need, your research should seek to justify that the demand is significant enough to warrant your planned expansion.


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