Are Your Feeling the Pinch?


Don’t worry about growing revenue. Worry about growing profit…. Make sure you understand what drives profitability in your business. To spur demand, you may have to get creative with pricing and product offerings, and you don’t want to put something out there that is actually unprofitable.

Consider diversifying to make the most of potential opportunities. Others’ weaknesses and instability could work to your advantage. You never know – you may identify a new market.
You can find more free advice and useful resources like this at

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Are You Feeling the Pinch?

If you have debt financing, stay in communication with your creditors. Don’t wait until it’s too late before speaking with your lender. When you are already in a crisis and haven’t provided any warnings, situations may prove tricky. Maintain constant communication. It will help you should you ever need to renegotiate terms.

Are You Feeling the Pinch?


You can forecast expenses, you can’t forecast revenue. Look for places to cut expenses. When times are good, companies tend to add staff and expenses that are nice to have, but not critical. It’s time to take a fresh look at those.

Keep focus on core markets and spend money solely in those areas. Avoid putting cash and time into areas that have proven less profitable.

Many companies begin by cutting advertising / marketing budgets. This can be a mistake. Instead of cutting these budgets, review the methods you are using. Are there more cost effective routes to market? Does your current strategy bring in the right results? If not, rework your efforts to deliver the best possible results.

Are You Feeling the Pinch?


Keep a close eye on your suppliers, and have alternatives. In a downturn, some of your suppliers may become troubled as well, and you need to think about alternative sources for your critical inputs.

Are You Feeling the Pinch?


On a related point, manage receivables aggressively. Businesses are holding on to their cash longer than before, resulting in late payments. These late payments are having a ripple effect through the SME community. Receivables will trend up, and some of your customers may become troubled as well. Don’t keep extending credit.

Are You Feeling the Pinch?

How are you finding the economic downturn? Is your business booming as you pick up new clients love the flexibility that a VA can offer as they are less inclined to hire staff at this uncertain time? Or are you finding that clients are cutting back on their hours with you and taking longer to pay? Entrepreneur and former Dragon Doug Richard shares his Tips For Survival In An Economic Downturn.


Manage cash – if you’re out of cash and out of credit, you’re out of business. You need a good 13 week cash forecast, generated NOT from the income statement but from a detailed understanding of receipts and disbursements. Monitor trends in your cash flow to keep on top of any sticky situations.

Managing Your Own Workload – Marketing Activities

Keep on networking.

This is often the first thing that gets dropped when you become busy with clients work. I know; I’m guilty of it myself. But when you suddenly disappear from groups you have been a regular at, often the assumption is that you are no longer in business. Accept that networking is part of the ongoing development of your business, choose one or two groups that you will remain a regular at and keep going. Even if you are not looking for more clients, you will still establish relationships that you will benefit from later on.

Managing Your Own Workload – Marketing Activities

Social networking.

If you have a profile on sites such as Ecademy and LinkedIn, it’s easy to spend hours each day on and off the site responding to requests to link. Set aside some time each week for social networking and respond to invitations then. Also user this time to seek out new connections of your own, join and post to groups, etc.

Managing Your Own Workload – Marketing Activities

Happy New Year! Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…

Writing your blog.

The same writing advice applies here as it does to newsletters but with the added bonus that you can schedule your posts for in advance. I’m actually writing this on the 30th October but you’ll be reading it weeks later!

Managing Your Own Workload – Marketing Activities

Writing your newsletter.

If you write a newsletter, be it weekly, monthly or whatever, try to write in blocks. It can be hard to find a quiet time to sit and write but when you do, often you feel like you could write for hours. Do it when you feel inspired and then split the content over several newsletters.

Now get packed up and close the office for Christmas and we’ll see you in the New Year!

Managing Your Own Workload – Admin Activities

Create checklists.

Have checklists for every process in your business. For example, when you take on a new client, have a checklist that prompts you to check you have received back the signed contract, you have sent your Welcome Pack, you have set up an appropriate email address, you have their stationery, etc. This saves time and prevents things being forgotten.

Managing Your Own Workload – Admin Activities

Back everything up.

If you’ve ever deleted something accidentally or suffered a computer crash, you won’t need to be told about this. Back everything up at least once a day. I use Carbonite and it automatically backs up my whole system everyday at 6pm. Then if I lose something or my system dies, I have a copy of everything easily accessible online.

Managing Your Own Workload – Admin Activities

Sort your emails.

Hands up who has an inbox with more than 10 emails in it? If you have, it can be a huge waste of time trying to find what you are looking for and the clutter can be overwhelming. Have files for incoming email and set up rules for all mail that can be dealt with later so that it goes directly to those files.

Managing Your Own Workload

When you are a virtual assistant, especially when your practice is becoming full, you spend a lot of time juggling your schedule so you can fit in all the needs and requirements of all your various clients. As you become more and more busy with client work, it is often easy to forget to schedule in time for the workload associated with running your own business. Tasks such as keeping up with your book keeping and invoicing, making time for your marketing activities and getting outside of the front door to do some networking often fall by the wayside.

If you let these things get away from you, they can quickly become the downfall of your business. I mean, there’s no point in working your fingers to the bone if you aren’t invoicing your clients, or lose track if you’re being paid on time. If you stop marketing your business, what happens if you lose your main clients? With marketing it takes a long time to build the momentum back up again. And if you have stopped networking, a lot of your old contacts will simply assume you have gone out of business. Not a great impression for them to have of your business.

The following series offers some simple steps that you can schedule into your working week to effectively work on your business so that it remains healthy and robust.