By Michael Marks CBI, Fellow Of The IBBA

One of the great joys of owning your own business is making your company grow and thrive. It can actually be enjoyable to buy new equipment – to have the latest technology and new capabilities. Or perhaps to take on a new product line or add a new service. And it can be exhilarating to hire new talent and delegate more of your own work to others. Yes, growth is fun!

Cutting back is not fun. It’s not fun to worry about what’s going to happen when everything is going downhill. It’s not fun to tell an employee they have lost their job. It’s not fun to have to fight with creditors. It’s no longer enjoyable to come into work.

Business owners have to face the future and make realistic plans to survive. Avoidance is not an option. They have to understand all the elements of their financial statements and look at the history and the trends. They have to make honest projections and understand what the company will look like in the near term and the long term.

Then here comes those words “business plan” again. Business owners have to adjust their business plans and start making the hard decisions. This means having to fight their emotions and take an objective look at costs and expenses. Whether they have to hold big sales to reduce inventory, drop an unprofitable line or service or sell off expensive equipment, they have to take those actions. And of course, the toughest action of all has to be taken. They have to cut back the work force.

By delaying these actions, the business owner puts his or her company and personal future in jeopardy. But by taking a good honest look at the reality of the situation and dealing with it, the business owner can get through the tough times. The windows of business open and close. Business owners must put their company in a position to be there when a new window of opportunity opens.