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From: Michael Wynne <>
Subject: News from International Mgm't Consulting Associates
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News from International Mgm't Consulting Associates
Phoenix Strategies for Tough Times
Part One
March 2009
In this issue
In this issue
-- What CEOs Don't Know
-- A Boxing and Business Lesson
-- The Value of Optimism
-- The Phoenix Strategies
-- Surviving a Force 10 Storm
-- The Mechanics of Profitability

What CEOs Don't Know
I recently spoke to a group of CEOs about Profitability, and was pleasantly surprised that I was able to point out a number of Profit Building concepts and practices that they were not yet aware of. Things some CEOs don't know or forgot are what you are about to discover.

A Boxing and Business Lesson
I became a Profitability Expert years ago when I was promoted to the position of CEO of company that had been losing money for four years. With the help of a great team on my staff, I was able to produce a profit within three months, and keep generating it from then on. Some of the principles I followed then, and have for many years, are included in the Phoenix Strategies that appear below.

Times are tough; we've all taken a beating - and will probably take more before things turn around. Speaking of beatings, in my teens I took up boxing and learned many valuable lessons from it. The most important one, however, was that you could recover from a knockdown and win a fight, but only if you found the determination and the will to get back up and keep on fighting.

In life, as in boxing, you need to look beyond the immediate. So many so-called "experts" are predicting doom and gloom, end-of-the-world, bottom-of-the barrel, scenarios. The Bible offers a very wise message for these tough times: This too shall pass.

The Value of Optimism
If we don't keep a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook, it will be the end-of-the-world for us, not because it is inevitable, but because we will have made it so. Optimism is far more powerful than pessimism. You don't believe it? Check the following three quotes:

* "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity: an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." Winston Churchill
* "In this world, the optimists have it, not because they are always right, but because they are positive. Even when they are wrong they are positive, and that is the way of achievement, correction, improvement, and success. Educated, eye-open optimism pays." David Landes, in The Wealth and Poverty of Nations; Why Some Are So Rich and Some so Poor.
* They conquer who believe they can. John Dryden

The Phoenix Strategies
Can we rise from the ashes of this economic crisis? Yes we can; the mythological Phoenix Bird rose from its ashes, and so can our businesses.

The following Phoenix Strategies for Tough Times are designed to help us all rise from the ashes of this financial crisis. I have applied these strategies successfully in tough times both in the U.S. and abroad. Apply them diligently with discipline and resolve, and your business will pull through safely. What's more, they will also prepare you to take advantage of the economic upswing when it comes.

The Phoenix Strategies for Tough Times.

1. This crisis won't go away soon. Know, and get used to the idea, that things will be tough, and that you will have to bear down hard!
2. Stop throwing money away! Do everything you can to avoid discounting. Right now, many businesses are discounting without realizing how much profit hey are losing. Did you know that a 10 percent discount can reduce your profit by as much as 67 percent! (I can show you the numbers to prove it.)
3. Review your pricing frequently. Where are you making money, and where are you not? What product lines and services generate worthwhile gross profits (in dollars, not percentages)? While you are at it, check which salespeople produce the most gross profit, and the same by region.
4. Cash flow will be the name of the game. You've got to collect your recei vables and pay your bills on time. Don't do business with customers who don't pay on time, or who ask for so much discount that you don't make money.
5. Know what you don't need, and don't buy it. The financial balance of your day-to-day business will be fragile; it won't take much spending to tip it in the wrong direction.
6. Tighten control of expenses. Strategy is all about concentrating your resources on the right opportunities at the right time Apply your efforts and resources to opportunities that are immediate, realistic and profitable.
7. Stick to priorities! Make20your time, effort, and money pay off!
8. Motivate yourself and your employees. Sell your vision, and share your hopes with them. Ask them for their ideas. Show your love and respect for your employees more than ever; the survival of your business depends on them.
9. Create a sense of urgency. This is no time for dawdling, for waiting for things to happen, or for putting off what needs to be done right away. Time is now more valuable than money; invest it wisely.
10. Leverage your resources and assets to the maximum. Everything and everyone has to contribute to the bottom line as much and as directly as possible. Encourage everyone to come up with new productivity ideas.
11. Renegotiate everything! Suppliers are more willing than ever to get and keep your business. They understand what we are all going through, and are receptive to being more flexible.
12. Love and pamper your profitable customers as much as possible. Show customer appreciation every minute of every day. Profitable customer retention is important at all times, but especially so in tough times.
13. Get rid of your unprofitable customers regardless of their size. They are dragging you down. They are using up your valuable resources that you could apply more productively elsewhere.
14. Innovate! Rethink every aspect of your business from marketing strategies, to business model, daily operations and procedures, and products and services. Develop new solutions that are of real value to your customers, and be sure to tell them about it!
15. Remember the 10-10-10 Rule: It takes ten weeks to get a new customer, ten seconds to lose one, and ten years to get that customer back. Time to reconnect with your past customers; it's easier and less expensive than trying to get new ones. The target number for repeat sales is 80%

Surviving a Force 10 Storm
Surviving tough times takes determination, discipline, and teamwork. Each time you survive a Force 10 Storm like the one we are currently facing, you will come out better prepared to be successful in good times when they return. Hang in there, keep your chin up, and be confident of your abilities.

The Mechanics of Profitability
You would be amazed how easy it is to turn a profit when you know The Mechanics of Profitability, and you apply them rigorously. If you would like to learn more about them and generate a lot more profit for your business, call me at 630 420 2605, or send me an e-mail at; my team and I have helped businesses rise from the ashes before, and we can do it for you!

By the way, in case you want to know why I gave up boxing, let me quote Bob Hope's explanation for the same decision in his case: "The referee spoiled my boxing career; he kept stepping on my hands."

Contact Information
phone: (630) 420 2605

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