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I don’t need a business plan!

Article by Doris Valade, The Malabar Group Inc.

“I don’t need a business plan!”

I had my own business for over 30 years, but 10 years passed before I did my first written business plan. It was the best thing I ever did for myself and the growth of my company. I kicked myself for not doing it sooner!

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” — an old adage, but one that still holds true. As a business owner, you probably have most of the business ideas and activities in your head. You know every aspect of the business as you look at the bank balance, vendor payments going out, sales coming in, etc. You may be thinking, “… but I don’t need a business plan.” Trust me, you do. It’s not enough to have these things in your head. A plan makes it easy to update things as your business evolves. It also makes things easier for those who will step in if something happens to you as the owner (their names should appear in the business plan too!) To use another oldy but goody from a John Lennon song (originally from comic strip artist, Allan Saunders) “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” In business as in other areas of your life, you need to be prepared for anything. Think pandemics!

Without a plan …

“Without a plan, even the most brilliant business can get lost. You need to have goals, create milestones and have a strategy in place to set yourself up for success.”

– Yogi Berra, baseball great and successful entrepreneur

begin

As business is returning to a pandemic version of normal, now is a great time to do your business plan. As the leader in your company, you are responsible for planning for sales growth and innovation through new products and services. How can you plan for tomorrow, if you don’t have a solid understanding of the position your business is in today? Clarify your thinking by putting your thoughts on paper and organizing it all into a written plan. Once your plan is complete, not only will you be more confident in the future, you will have the confidence of your team and a comprehensive document to share with your bank to support required funding or to use when applying for grants.

The planning process helps to identify any possible mistakes or trouble areas that need your attention, including cash flow issues (running out of money!). You’ll learn whether your prices are too high or too low. Are your products the best fit for your market? Do they meet your market’s needs? Your business plan is the first step in developing a strategic growth plan to ensure your company’s ongoing success.

What should a business plan look like?

A written business plan puts on paper a detailed profile of the key components of your business, including the following:

  • Company Overview – a brief description of your company and where is stands in the marketplace.
  • SWOT Analysis – helps you identify and understand the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats that surround your business.
  • Marketing and Sales Plan – understanding your target market and key product offerings is key. Review your pricing strategy. How will you distribute your products? What advertising and social media tools and platforms will you use to reach out to current customers? How will you attract new customers?
  • Management Plan – describe the ownership, employee profiles and job positions and any external professional resources (accountant, mentor, advisor/consultant, etc.) By the way, a mentor is invaluable to a new business owner!
  • Operating Plan – outline of the physical requirements of your business, including office building/space, warehouse, equipment, inventory, labour, etc. 
  • Financial Plan – this includes your cash flow statement, balance sheet, break-even analysis and projected income statement to show your growth plan for the first year if you are starting a new business, or a projection for the next three years for an established business. A three-year projection gives you the opportunity to consider possible new projects, products or services. You might consider putting more money into marketing or expanding your sales team.

You don’t have to go it alone

Business plans like businesses benefit from collaboration. Why not include key members of your team based on their areas of expertise that match the plan’s components? Collecting the information can be a team effort which encourages a variety of perspectives. Reach out to your advisory board (if you have one) or to your mentor.

If you are a start-up business, maybe all you need is a simple one-page plan that you can build on as the business grows. For an established business, a more comprehensive plan is recommended to ensure that you have considered all aspects of your operations. 

The SWOT Analysis

The one component of your plan that is critical and will be most insightful is the SWOT analysis. You will identify strengths and weaknesses within your business and understand the external opportunities and threats that exist in your industry and business in general (trends, legislation, economy; and at the moment, this includes pandemic effects/protocols). If you decide not to do a business plan (I really hope you don’t take this route) then I strongly recommend you at least do the SWOT analysis.

So, what’s next?

Making the time and effort to complete your business plan provides you with the opportunity to look at your business as a whole; make changes where needed and set priorities. It is an investment in you, your future and the future of your business. 

A helping hand …

You’re busy! Making time to do a business plan is probably last on your list of things to do. A template will be helpful as will guidance on how to write you plan, so I have included templates for two types of business plans and one for the SWOT analysis on my website (all free) – www.malabargroup.ca

If you are looking for further guidance or support in doing your business plan, or in growing your business, send me an email and we can talk!  doris@malabargroup.ca

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SWOT Analysis Template

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Long Form Business Plan Template

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One Page Business Plan Template

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Your Best Salesperson is not a Who, it’s a What!

By Doris Valade, Business & Leadership Coach, April 2021


Fourteen months in and the pandemic continues to affect the way we do business. As a business owner, you faced many challenges through 2020 and this continues in 2021. At first, the big question was “will my business survive?” As vaccines slowly arrive, you’re probably shifting your focus to look at how to grow your business in the new normal. One of the most dramatic changes during the pandemic has been the end of in-person sales calls. Since in-person activities will likely be slow to resume and travel will remain restricted, who will promote your brand? Who will reach out to your customers? How will you maintain those important connections? One of the most valuable members of your sales team is one that some
of you may have overlooked or underestimated for years. It’s not a who, however; it’s a what! It’s your website. Today, a business website is more important than ever.


Historically, retail was a brick-and-mortar location with walk-in customers. The advent of social media encouraged a gradual transition to online shopping. During the pandemic, this growth has accelerated as social restrictions forced a rapid move to online shopping and curbside pick-up. In 2021, as we move toward a new normal, it will pay dividends to think of your website as your digital storefront. Consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2020, up an incredible 44.0% year over year, according to Digital Commerce 360 estimates. That’s the highest annual U.S. ecommerce growth in at least two decades. It’s also nearly triple the 15.1% jump in 2019. New figures from Statistics Canada show online retail sales rose 110.7% year-over-year in January 2021 compared to January 2020 in accounting for 7.8% of total retail trade. So it’s time to ask yourself … is your best virtual salesperson ready for business?


When’s the Last Time You Showed Your Website Some Love?
Many business owners put up a website, then give it little thought and very few updates over the years. While social media should be part of your integrated marketing strategy, your website remains your calling card. Social media’s job is to drive customers to your website. When they land, your website provides the content they need to make buying decisions. Your website is a vital connection to your brand and its business. Just like with an in-person sales call appearance matters, and you don’t have long to make a good first impression. Ask your sales team and a few of your best customers to provide feedback on your website. Here are a few key things for you (and them) to consider:


Is your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) working well?
How do you know if it’s working? In a web browser, type a few key words that describe your products or type of business and location (e.g., deli, butcher shop, meat products, Toronto). Does your business show up on the first page of the search? If not, you need to improve your
SEO. This will increase visibility of your website. If your customers do a google search, you want your business and its products or services to show up if not first, at least ahead of most of the competition. Here’s a great link to learn more about SEO: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-101/

Is your website visually attractive?
Is it well branded? Does it look current or is it outdated? Think colours, fonts, images, content.


Is it easy to move around on your website?
Websites must be customer friendly. Pages should load quickly and when customers move from page to page there should be no error messages. Is your home (landing) page uncluttered and easy to read? Is the navigation menu intuitive? Does your opening page tell a story about your company — one that engages visitors and draws them in to learn more (see Content comments farther below)? Equally important, is your website compliant for customers with disabilities?


Is your website mobile friendly? In 2020, the number of unique mobile internet users stood at 4.28 billion, indicating that over 90 percent of the global internet population use a mobile device to go online. Make sure that your website renders cleanly across all devices — laptops, mobile phones, iPads, tablets.


Don’t neglect the “Contact Us” page!
This is an important page. Does it work smoothly? Is it friendly to use? How quickly do you respond when a customer reaches out to you? Superior customer service can be a key differentiator between you and your competition.


In real estate it’s location, location — on websites it’s all about content.
Make sure every piece of content on your website is high quality. Not only is this important for engaging customers, it’s also crucial to your website’s page ranking (SEO). There are loads of sites on the Internet to help you write good content. Read their tips or hire a professional copywriter.


Engage with customers in the ways they like to engage
Are you using SMS (short message service) marketing? SMS uses text messages to send promotional campaigns or transactional messages for marketing purposes. According to a statistics report from G2 Learning Hub₁, 42% of millennials check their text messages ten or more times per day on average. 50% of consumers say that they would opt into an SMS loyalty program if they were offered flash sales, deals or coupons. Learn more about SMS marketing: ₁

https://learn.g2.com/sms-marketing-statistics

https://optinmonster.com/sms-marketing/


The pandemic has changed how consumers buy and how businesses sell. An engaging website opens the door to potential new customers and ensures lasting connections with current customers — this is true at any time, but will be particularly important going forward. Isn’t it time you showed your best virtual salesperson a little virtual love?

About Doris Valade

Doris has been involved in the meat and poultry industry for over 35 years. She has sat on the boards of Food & Beverage Ontario, the Canadian Meat Council, and the Canadian Spice Association. Doris has been included on the list of Profit magazine’s Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs from 1999 – 2005 and again in 2016. Meat and Poultry Ontario recently awarded Doris the Lifetime Member Award for her outstanding contribution to the industry. Doris mentors and supports small business owners and entrepreneurs through the challenges of running their business.

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Brain Fog? Try Mind Mapping!

By Doris Valade

Do you feel as though your brain is in a bit of a fog at the moment? You’re not alone. As COVID-19 rages on, business leaders are trying to stay focused on managing their business. The uncertainty and anxiety can leave us unable to move forward. If you’ve never done any mind mapping, now might be the perfect time. From personal experience, l can tell you it will clear your mind and help determine next steps. You will gain clarity in your daily activities and a creativity boost. Mind mapping also allows for team input, because even as business leaders, we don’t have to go it alone, particularly during a pandemic.

After 35 very successful years in business, I recently sold my company. I used mind mapping to lay out next steps for my future — business and personal (including fitness goals). I had always used diagrams and doodles with notes when planning new projects or ideas, I didn’t know there was a formal process. Then I discovered mind mapping and its associated software. My diagrams and doodles became more effective and easier to share with others. Currently, I use mind mapping in my new venture as a business and leadership coach to help clients gain a clear visual of their business, lay out business plans, create marketing plans and even lay out company policies (e.g., how to on-board a new employee). 

Mind mapping is more effective and a whole lot more fun than traditional note taking

Your brain is your mind’s physical home. It translates the contents of your mind, your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, memories and even your imagination. What happens when you hear the word ‘dog’? Do you see the word D-O-G? Most likely, you get a mental picture of a dog, in colour and the dog is moving about. We don’t just process thoughts as letters, words, sentences or lists. Our thoughts include images, colours and shapes. Did you know that combining two skills — processing words and colours — involves two different parts of the brain? This can improve your memory far more than note taking. So why take notes with pen and paper, in a traditional linear manner as thoughts present themselves? Mind mapping is easier, more effective and a whole lot more fun!

Mind maps encourage you to visualize and allow for the free flow of ideas

The concept of mind maps was developed in the 1960s by Tony Buzan, an English author and educational consultant. Commonly referred to as the ultimate thinking tool, it was actually inspired by techniques used by Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein. Mind maps encourage you to visualize your thoughts, allowing for the free flow of ideas using pictures, colours and keywords (i.e., a word or concept of high significance). Not only does this improve memory and recall, it gives your thoughts greater clarity. You can use a mind map to increase business productivity, optimize project management and improve collaboration and communication with teams or clients and that’s just for starters.

How to make a mind map

How to make a mind map

The layout of a mind map (above) is similar to the physical layout of our brain, which has billions of neurons branching out, further extending into hundreds of dendrites, which connect with other neurons. There is no start or finish and no lineal order to a mind map. Each map is just one page. You can create one by hand or use a web-based software program (e.g., mindmapping.com or mindmeister.com).

To create one by hand:

  1. Start with a blank piece of paper and a few different coloured markers.
  2. At the center of the paper, write/draw your key topic. It could also be a question or problem.
  3. Draw lines out from the center topic and jot down keywords associated with the topic. There are no right or wrong ideas and the more words you have, the more creative you can be. TIP! Draw images to represent keywords — simple doodles or sketches are fine; you don’t need to be an artist.
  4. From each keyword, continue to extend your thoughts and associations using additional lines and keywords.
  5. Once your ideas are spread around the page, organize and connect them for further clarity.
    TIP! Look for words that are frequently repeated as they may be key topics. Make sure keywords support your central topic.
  6. Now put your ideas into a sequence, as a plan of action, by adding numbers or placing them in clockwise order around the central topic.  
  7. Share your mind map with your team — their input can be part of a brainstorming session.

What are the benefits of mind mapping?

According to a 2019 study, “State of Mind Mapping Software,” conducted by Chuck Frey (Marketing Strategist and Mind Mapping Expert), mind mapping helps executives to be 20 to 30% more productive in their work and increases their creativity by 30%. 18% of respondents said that mind mapping saved them more than 7 hours a week. Another 13.5% stated that it saved them 5 to 7 hours per week.

(Here is the link for a full review of the 2019 study: https://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/2019-mind-mapping-software-trends-survey-report/ )

With all of the uncertainly surrounding us at the moment, mind mapping is a reliable tool to help manage information, increase productivity and provide clarity (business and personal) at a time when perhaps, we have never needed it more!

Recommended Reading:

  1. The basics of mind mapping:  https://simplemind.eu/how-to-mind-map/basics/
  2. How to mind map effectively: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xges9V4rLms

References:

Mind Map Mastery, Tony Buzan, Watkins Media Ltd., 2018

About Doris Valade

Doris has been an owner and President of a successful food manufacturing company for 35 years, and recently sold the company.  She understands the unique challenges associated with leading, growing and ultimately selling a company.  She has sat on the boards of Food & Beverage Ontario, the Canadian Meat Council, and the Canadian Spice Association. Doris has been included on the list of Profit magazine’s Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs from 1999 – 2005 and again in 2016. Meat and Poultry Ontario recently awarded Doris the Lifetime Member Award for her outstanding contribution to the industry.

Doris is a business and leadership coach supporting business owners and entrepreneurs to challenge, define and lead. You can request a free (no obligation) 15-minute phone call and conversation with Doris by sending her an email request: doris@malabargroup.ca

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Business Leaders Ask, What’s Next? Begin by Listening…

“Of all the skills of leadership, listening is the most valuable — and one of the least understood. Most captains of industry listen only sometimes, and they remain ordinary leaders. But a few, the great ones, never stop listening. That’s how they get word before anyone else of unseen problems and opportunities.”

— Peter Nulty, Fortune magazine

As business leaders and owners, we knew what we needed to do each day to keep the business moving forward: take care of customers, keep production on schedule, monitor projects, lead the team and grow sales. Then came COVID-19. It changed everything, our business lives and our personal lives. What we thought of as normal is gone. Uncertainly has become part of every day, making it difficult to focus and stay on task. We may not even know what the tasks should be! We don’t know how business will evolve over the next few months or through 2021. We do know that things will be unpredictable. Going forward, being a good listener will be crucial to our success.

A term that often pops up in business articles today is ‘resilience’. We’re told that we need to build resilience in ourselves and our business. Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity. So how do we ‘adapt well’ when our confidence is shaken and we are all learning new ways to cope, work and play — we are now beginners in a changed new world. Your team is looking to you for guidance, direction and support. So, what do you do? Where do you start? Begin by listening — to your team, to your customers and to respected voices within your industry.

As business leaders, we (hopefully) have the innate ability to see opportunities where others may see only risks. Now is the time when you can stimulate business innovation by listening to what your team has to say. What are their concerns? Their fears? Listen to their suggestions to improve how they work. What ideas do they have on how production can be done differently and better? How can you support a safe work environment so that your team can focus on what needs to be done? Just because you are leaders or business owners doesn’t mean you must have all the answers. Now is a great time to listen. Facilitate your team to be creative and have a positive impact on what your company does next. Collaboration can be very effective in supporting your team while also producing some great new ideas. 

Listen to your customers. What are they asking for? What are their concerns? Do you need to change how your product is packaged or shipped? Should you add a new product, suited to your customers’ current needs? Should you change your store hours, upgrade your website or online services?  Ask your customer how you can help and thenlisten closely. Pay attention to their critical comments as they can provide you with the best ideas for change and improvement. Let them guide you toward new, innovative ways of doing business. 

Innovation and constructive change can provide you and your company with a renewed purpose and a positive outlook on the future — as long as good listening is part of the plan.

I’ve talked a lot about listening, but are you actually a good listener? According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, “People’s appraisal of their listening ability is much like their assessment of their driving skills, in that the great bulk of adults think they’re above average.” 1 As business leaders and owners, it’s important that we know how to listen.  In addition, “when situations lack analogies to the past, we have trouble envisioning how they will play out in the future.” 2 In my recommended reading below, I’ve included a couple of interesting perspectives to help you during these uncertain times.

Recommended Reading:

1What Great Listeners Actually Do, by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2016/07/what-great-listeners-actually-do

2Learning for the Future (How can we formulate strategy in the face of uncertainty?), J. Peter Scoblic, Harvard Business Review, July/August 2020 Issue

https://hbr.org/2020/07/emerging-from-the-crisis

About Doris Valade

Doris has been involved in the meat and poultry industry for over 35 years. She has sat on the boards of Food & Beverage Ontario, the Canadian Meat Council and the Canadian Spice Association. Doris has been included on the list of Profit magazine’s Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs from 1999 – 2005 and again in 2016. Meat and Poultry Ontario recently awarded Doris the Lifetime Member Award for her outstanding contribution to the industry.

Doris is a business and leadership coach supporting business owners and entrepreneurs to challenge, define and lead. You can request a free (no obligation) 15-minute phone call and conversation with Doris by sending her an email request: doris@malabargroup.ca

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How to Create a Successful Exit

July 12, 2020

I was recently interviewed on the Sell My Business Podcast. On the podcast I discussed how I created a successful business exit.

Highlights of my interview include:

  • Why you’ll be happier and richer when you fire yourself
  • What you don’t know about your exit advisors that you should
  • The one thing you can do to protect yourself and maximize your exit value
  • Why you know more than you think you do when it comes to your company
  • What to look for in your exit agreement so you have no regrets

GET THE PODCAST

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How to Survive and Thrive During a Pandemic

June 10, 2020

Leadership in Challenging Times, COVID-19, and Finding Opportunity

“One of the strengths of entrepreneurs is that we don’t see risks”

Doris Valade

Doris Valade is a high performing operations-management business professional. Doris sold her business, Malabar Super Spice Company, in 2018. Malabar Super Spice is a company that Doris built from the ground up. With almost four decades of experience, Doris now helps companies maximize business results.

Why a pandemic brings opportunities, not challenges, to businesses

How communication is the key to success during a pandemic

The power of communication with employees, customers, and vendorsHow to work with vendors during a pandemic

Leveraging the downtime from a pandemic to rethink your business

How to look at your business for cost savings

The importance of mentors for business leaders

The power and need to train employees during challenging times

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth. Enjoy the interview!

GET THE PODCAST

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As business leaders, how do we navigate the road ahead when there is no map or guide book?

Meat & Poultry Ontario – BlockTalk, May 2020

As business leaders, how do we navigate the road ahead when there is no map or guide book?

Doris Valade, May 8, 2020

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic. Day-to-day life changed for all of us. Many of you remember the financial crisis of 2008 — 2009. It wiped out $2 trillion in global growth and cost 2.6 million jobs in America. In Canada, unemployment rose to 8.4% and more than 1.5 million people were looking for work. Yes, Canada went into a recession, but we did recover. Will we recover again? It depends.

“Fear, uncertainty and confusion are making it difficult for some business leaders to think about tomorrow. After all, who plans for a 100 per cent drop in revenue?”

Today, we are facing the possibility of another recession, but this time with the added stress of risks to our businesses and our health. It’s a lethal combination. Fear, uncertainty and confusion are making it difficult for many business leaders to think about tomorrow. After all, who plans for a 100 per cent drop in revenue?

Right now, as business leaders you are facing challenges that are not found in a typical business plan or company handbook. Your business is at risk and perhaps in critical condition. Much like a surgeon, you must make difficult decisions — decisions that cannot be based on thinking about immediate pain or eventual recovery. Rather, you must focus on the goal of saving the life of your business right now. But where do you start? 

Start with the two key fundamentals to running a business that are now more important than ever – communication and cash flow.

The fundamental need for communication

As your company’s leader, you make important business decisions every day. You are the go-to person for guidance and direction. So right now, everyone is looking to you for answers to, “What is happening?” and “What can do we do about it?”

If you haven’t done so already, open or expand the different channels of communication around you. Communication should include open dialogue with your team, your customers, your vendors, your family and yourself! No business leader has all the answers. (If you think you do, trust me, it will impede your company’s recovery.) Start the conversation and bring together resources that can provide reassurance, understanding and support. 

Your team needs reassurance — they will be worrying about job security and income. Their emotional and financial wellbeing will directly impact their productivity. Open dialogue and regular company updates are important. So is sharing the challenges you are facing as a company. As leader, you are also human, so it is a great time to share more of that side of you. Share your experiences. Encourage questions. Engage your team with topics that include how the company could improve its processes through the pandemic. If you’re not in business, but are staying in touch with staff, invite suggestions for improvements when operations resume. This gives everyone hope and keeps you in touch.  

“Communicating with your customers is also critical — like your staff, they too will have questions.”

Communicating with your customers is also critical — like your staff, they too will have questions. The simple things are important for them to know now. What are your hours of operation? Who can they talk to if they have questions or concerns? How can they contact you? Have your services/products changed during the pandemic? Let your customers know that they are still top-of-mind. Regular email updates provide the reassurance that business will continue.

Don’t forget vendors! This includes your suppliers as well as your bank, shareholders and private equity partners. You may need to reach out to key vendors to ask for extended payment terms or to your bank to review your line of credit. Let vendors know how your business is doing, even if you don’t need additional help. In cases where you think a vendor may be able to provide support in the future, share your key challenges with them now. Managing inventory, accounts payable and commitments for future orders will be more important than ever. 

Last but not least, don’t forget your family and yourself. Your family will be aware of your frustrations and fears. Sharing your thoughts with them can provide an amazing sense of relief and emotional support, for you and for them! As with your team at work, you’re in it together.

Your role as a business leader/owner can still be lonely. Think about joining peer groups (e.g. PEO – Presidents of Enterprising Organizations), contacting mentors or reaching out to other industry leaders through associations such as Meat & Poultry Ontario.

The importance of cash flow

Banks and financial institutions were especially hard hit by the 2008 crisis, confirming the importance of tight rules on the amount of debt they could carry (US regulators and Congress supported an increase in the amount of capital that banks should hold in reserve to deal with unexpected contingencies), along with a more conservative approach to risk. Canada was able to avoid the worst of the crisis since under the Bank Act, our banks are forced by law to have cash reserves of approximately 14% (1). Canada’s businesses are bound by no such requirement. 

Cash flow refers to the monitoring and tracking of the movement of cash in and out of your business. A cash flow statement or cash position report provides you with a current ‘picture’ of how your business is doing, as well as key financial indicators including total revenue (for the week, or for the month), accounts receivable (including over 60 and over 90), accounts payable, cash on hand (current bank balance), cost of inventory and line of credit balance (if applicable). 

Managing cash flow is critical to the life of your business. Increasing sales is also important, as is making sure that your profit margins on selling prices are competitive and greater than your costs. Consider including employee input and suggestions to help increase sales and/or reduce expenses by having a contest to encourage their ideas on how to either increase product/service sales or reduce everyday expenses. Award gift cards for each idea that is adopted by the company.

“What about your expenses? Take a hard look at the top five expense accounts in your business right now to see how you can lower costs.”

Once you have the sales, never lose sight of the receivables due from those sales. Do you have a follow up program in place to track receivables once they are over 30 days? Over 60 days? What about your expenses? Take a hard look at the top five expense accounts in your business to see how you can lower costs right now. Look for alternate suppliers. Find a freight broker to manage and reduce courier and freight costs. Reach out to your employee benefit provider for more cost-effective options.

When business is going well, we sometimes forget about the day-to-day operations and the key financial numbers that we should monitor at all times because they provide us with warning signs of trouble ahead. I know this from experience! As the 2008 financial crisis approached, like most business owners I was wearing many business hats. We were understaffed and I had no growth strategy for the company. We did not monitor our over-30-day receivables and had not done a recent analysis of our break-even costs for products. Cash was tight … and then the 2008 financial crisis hit and we fell flat on our face! Recovery was long and painful with many hard lessons learned. One tool that I implemented and continued on a weekly basis, was a cash position report (1 page) that provided a snapshot of our receivables over 30 days, our cash on hand, our inventory values and our profit margin by product category. This represented the ‘heartbeat’ of the company and staying healthy was our priority.

As I write this article, there is a lot of discussion around getting back to full employment, opening up all businesses and trying to get back to ‘normal’. None of us are sure what ‘normal’ is going to look like. In fact, many businesses are not even sure they can continue to operate. 

Open communication and positive cash flow are vital. So stay strong — in every way!

And remember … “In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

Recommended reading as an alternative to watching the daily CVID-19 TV or online updates:

Michael Beer writes about organizational trust and honest communication in his new book, “Fit to Compete – Why Honest Conversations about Your Company’s Capabilities are the Key to a Winning Strategy.” (Harvard Business Review Press, 2020).

1Government of Canada, Office of the Superintendent of financial Institutions.   https://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/Eng/fi-if/rg-ro/gdn-ort/gl-ld/Pages/CAR18_chpt1.aspx

Doris Valade has been involved in the meat and poultry industry for over 35 years, and has sat on the boards of Food & Beverage Ontario, Canadian Meat Council and the Canadian Spice Association.  Doris has been included on the list of Profit Magazine’s Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs from 1999 – 2005, and again in 2016.  Meat and Poultry Ontario recently awarded Doris with the Lifetime Member Award for her outstanding contribution to the industry.

Doris now keeps busy as a business and leadership coach supporting business owners and entrepreneurs to challenge, define and lead. She can be reached by email; doris@malabargroup.ca