It’s time for a hard look at your sales, expenses and net profit so far in 2008. With Less than 60 days until the end of the year–really think about what next year could bring.
Okay, everyone has maybe had enough of the general gloom and doom in the news. If you’ve tuned it out, then tune in to some of your own research. Is your industry growing or shrinking? What does that mean to your sales projects.
1. Call SCORE to find an office near you for a Small Business Check-up. Schedule a personal mentoring session. Get a free and confidential review of your business in 2008. Call 1-800/634-0245 or Find SCORE Online.
2. Do Some Research. Use Google search to find out general industry trends. If you’re in retail, how much is retail down right now? What sectors are doing better or worse. This is the news you need–specific to your industry with an impact on your business. If you see an industry holding steady, growing or contracting, your plans for 2009 should take that into account.
3. Tune up your business plan. Really take a hard look at sales projections and expenses. You can break the plan into quarters, this way you may plan revenue and expense based on slower sales earlier in the year and a pick-up in volume a little later in the year. It’s too late after the fact. Now, you have the chance to set budgets based on expectations–and that is the management tool that helps you in 2009.
This week I’d like to share some helpful credit advice from my colleague, Bob Paul, at Chicago SCORE.
“Revise your credit policy now to avoid problems associated with extending credit later” says SCORE counselor Bob Paul. (He was vice president of credit and collections at John Deere for a multi-billion portfolio of loans to businesses and individuals.) Here are his 4 keys to extending credit.
1) Avoid extending credit if possible. Get paid on delivery, in advance, or at specified milestones during a project. Accept credit card payments where possible. Extend credit only if it is demanded in your industry. Providing credit to your customers eats up your cash and costs you money in terms of added expenses and a higher level of debt. Be sure you are appropriately compensated either through interest collected or through your pricing strategy.
2) Develop a credit policy which defines procedures to approve credit and authority levels within your organization. The rules may vary for granting larger credit amounts. The procedures may include requesting and reviewing the customer’s prior years tax returns, historical balance sheets and income statements, credit references, and credit reporting agency data. Higher levels of credit require greater scrutiny. Know how to evaluate creditworthiness. Be aware of all credit extension laws that are applicable to you and your customers. Follow them carefully. Failure to do so may result in you losing your claim to the account (and you may also be liable for punitive damages).