is your business going the way of the dinosaur?

Dinosaurs The other day I held a consult for a potential client who – if he does nothing differently – will be extinct by the end of 2009, if not before. 

His story:  He began a recruiting company well over 10 years ago and created a strong, specialty niche for agencies needing associates with IT skills and a top secret clearance.  It was great at the time.  The only problem if any,  was that he was the third party supplier and never had the direct relationship with the companies doing the hiring.  That aside, it worked for a while.  His revenue was consistent.  Not great, but consistent and he was even able to hire a couple of recruiters….

Until the clients dried up.

Like so many small businesses, the change in the current marketplace also changed his client base and he phoned me because he is currently "surviving" on just one fee-for-performance contract. 

The good news:

1. The "client" is a well-known and prestigious realty company

2.  He has a sole source contract. 

The bad news:

1.  Most folks still doing real estate these days are probably fairly loyal to their company

2.  He only gets paid when the realty company agrees to allow the agent to represent them (which means a LOT of upfront work for no guarantee on payment).

3.  Once he has met the clients hiring goals, he will "perform" his way out of a job. 

4.  He cut his rate substantially just to get the contract.

The fact of the matter is that it's a win-lose contract but he feels it still allows him to be in the game AND the potential for some income is better than the potential for none (which he would have if he didn't have the contract) and the sad reality is that after more than 10 years in business, he us a hair's breath away from becoming extinct.

And he knows it.

Are you on the verge of joining him?

Every day businesses are going under because they refuse to do things differently.  Like my new friend above, they may even see the writing on the wall.  The saw the train coming but got frozen the headlights.  They blinked and got run over.

When was the last time you took stock of your current business situation?  Forty years ago, a business might be able to "wing it" and survive.  Those days are gone.  If you see declining revenues month after month after month and you think you can ride out the economy, think again.

  • Do you have a business plan?  If not, when are you planning on writing one?  If so, when was the last time you reviewed it?

  • How long has it been since you researched your industry or read new material that could give you some insight on reinventing your company or marketing strategy?

  • When was the last time you did anything that could be considered innovative?

My guess is that this isn't just your business, it's your life.  Whether you founded it one year ago, ten years ago or last month, something ignited a spark in you that resulted in you beginning your own company.  Don't lose sight now.  You may have to reinvent, rework or rethink the way you do business but at the end of the day, you only have to survive one day longer than your competition!

You were born to be great!

YES, you can!

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