The Global Financial crisis has had an impact on every business I read about or encounter, some worse than others. So what should you do in your business to ensure you are around to enjoy the growth that occurs after any downturn?

Don’t Panic: Too many companies have battened down the hatches, stopped spending and are bracing for the worst. You certainly have to be more prudent in these times but if everyone keeps to themselves, the crisis only worsens because money doesn’t change hands and inevitably, someone falls out the bottom.

Review your Outgoings: Take a good look at the money you are spending and make sure you know exactly where your money is going and take this opportunity to trim your costs. There may be savings to be had in every area of your business, even spending which is vital to your business such as your telephony costs. During this period, if you have a little cash left over, if possible try and build up a piggy bank and put some money away to cover the dips. Remember, cash is King.

Put some extra effort into your existing customer base: Make sure you don’t neglect those who are spending money with you. Take the time to make sure you are provided they a good quality product or service and that the customer satisfaction level is higher than average. Last thing you want is for your clients (and their money) to go else ware.

Improve your Processes: Take a good look at how and why you are doing things the way you do. Step through each major process and see if there are any steps you can remove, make more efficient or delegate to a lower cost resource. This will help make your people more effective short and long term and potentially difer or remove the need to add staff when things pick up again. ( = more profit)

Focus on your strengths: Review your strengths and weaknesses as an organisation and use your strengths as a way to differentiate yourself amongst your competitors. Pick something that you are particularly good at and use this as your value proposition to prospective clients. If you can stand out from your competition you are more likely to get noticed ultimately leading to more sales.

If you can spend some time now looking at each of these areas it will not only improve what you are doing today but help immensely when things get busy again.

What other strategies are working for you in these interesting times?

What is a virtual business mentor?

mentor: a trusted friend, counsellor or teacher, usually a more experienced person.

Every entrepreneur should have a mentor – some else who has actually travelled the road you are about start. This is some-one you respect and that has actually, not talked and written books about, but actually lived the journey. Anyone can talk about it, few survive and live though it.

virtual: in its meaning is not physically present. In this new day and information age we no longer require our business coaches and mentors to be in the next street or the city. We can access the best minds and experience the world has to offer. So, if you’re in Sydney or Melbourne Australia this does not mean you mentor can’t be a Silicon Valley genius.

A virtual business mentor is a mentor who is not physically present, who helps grow and guide you around the obstacles that starting and running a business presents.

How to find a virtual business mentor?

Know yourself: Consciously think about where you are, and where you would like to be. Consider your personality, strengths and weaknesses. Understand what it is you need to grow. If you don’t know yourself, start there, maybe ask a peer to help you constructive find the area you need to grow?

Results: A clear understanding of your purpose and desired result will ensure that you find a suitable mentor, and that you and your mentor find value in the relationship. This clarity also eliminates any future confusion.

Past: Whether deliberately or not, each of us has had mentors in our lives. Think about the people who have mentored you and the qualities that you appreciated most about them. Use these traits as guidelines to finding a mentor.

Referrals: Ask around friends, colleagues, a personal referral is the best method. Be clear about what you’re looking for and why.

Broader Search: use the industry associations, online communities, professors, and a better option can be other successful leaders in your industry. Do not be afraid to ask.

Open mind: A mentor is someone who will help you grow in the area(s) most important to you. Look for someone who exemplifies the traits and skills that you want to adopt. If your accountant models the mindset-management behaviours that you strive for, she could be your mentor.

So what steps are you going to take next or what do you think of my post ?