When in doubt, sell your way out
When you-know-what hits the fan and the survival of your business is endangered, you must begin thinking like a military commander in battle. Often the situation is so serious that you have to step forward and make hard decisions, and make them immediately. No more Mr. Nice Guy.
Top military leaders have been studied going back to 600 B.C. Over the centuries, several principles of military strategy that lead to the victory of defeat have been identified. They are now taught to student officers in every military school in the world. By applying these principles of military strategy to your life and business, you can often turn the situation around and achieve extraordinary results.
The first principle of military strategy is the Principle of the Objective. It requires that you be perfectly clear about the goal (or goals) that you want and need to get through a crunch point. In business, the practice of this principle is usually focused on goals related to sales, revenues, and cash flow. You need plans, schedules, and the right people doing the right jobs to achieve your most important objectives. Everyone should be absolutely clear about what they are expected to do, and they must be committed to success, to victory, no matter how serious the crisis.
The second strategic principle is the Principle of the Offensive. It requires that you take action, that you move forward boldly to confront your difficulties and solve your problems. As Napoleon said, "No great battles are ever won on the defensive." Since your natural tendency when you hit crunch time is to withdraw, cut back, and play it safe, you must resist this urge and instead dare to go forward, to seize control of the situation, and to attack your difficulties with firmness and decisiveness.
Whenever one of my companies has experienced a cash crunch, my mantra is, "When in doubt, sell your way out." You cannot cost-cut your way out of a financial crisis. You have to generate revenues, and the only way to do that is by selling something to someone. Always think in terms of generating revenues from sales. Become very aggressive and focused in this area. Every single company that has rebounded from a crisis, including companies like IBM in 1991, turned itself
around by focusing single-mindedly on generating sales revenues. You should do the same.
Discipline yourself to focus single-mindedly on this #1 target, resisting temptations to clear up small things first.
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