GUEST EDITOR'S MEMO: 10 Tips for Success

This month’s guest editor is David Gewirtz, author of The Flexible Enterprise: How to Reinvent Your Company, Unlock Your Strengths and Prosper in a Changing World and Where Have All the Emails Gone?

There's no doubt business is a challenge in today's market, but that doesn't mean you can't thrive. Here are ten tips to help your business succeed in 2009:
  1. Manage yourself. If you break, everything breaks.
  2. Know your cash flow...intimately.
  3. Optimize your operations. Streamline your systems.
  4. Manage with honor. Honesty is essential to trust.
  5. Pay attention to quality, customer service quality in particular.
  6. Nurture your customer list.
  7. Market like your life depends on it...because it does.
  8. Be aware of outsourcing. For good or bad, it's changing business.
  9. Consider new products, markets and services. But first, get the most out of the ones you have.
  10. Always give your customers more than they expect, and make sure they know they're getting it.
Speaking of giving them more than they expect, here are five bonus tips:
  1. Be extra flexible and accommodating, but not at the expense of your fundamentals.
  2. Be aware of what you're focusing on, and focus on opportunities, not doom.
  3. Don't be afraid to experiment. Doing the same thing over and over again isn't always the way.
  4. Keep an eye out for strategic acquisitions. This is an ideal time to grow.
  5. Don't be a jerk. People often look for an excuse to not be helpful when they're stressed out. Help them help you.
You can increase your chances of winning by focusing on the quality issue. Implement quality standards and pay real attention to the consistency of your product. Look at your operations and look for ways to make what you do more efficient. If you're a manager, ask your employees what's driving them nuts; these "tolerances" are usually clues to where you can improve.

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