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Back to basics

By John Loos

December 2009 - As many manufacturers look to 2010 as an opportunity to recover from the dire straits of 2008 and 2009, Domenic Rinaldi, managing partner of Chicagoland Sunbelt, a Chicago-based business brokerage firm, has revealed eight critical steps to prepare for the next year.

In a company article, Rinaldi explains that the first 100 days of a new business are critical, and the lessons new company owners learn can be applied to longtime business owners, as well.

Rinaldi's steps are as follows:

Meet with your key employees.Reconnecting with employees will give any owner a stronger insight into his or her business, particularly workers in critical roles.

Meet with key customers.Likewise, touching base with important clients is not only good common sense, but it's an essential step to understanding why business has been gained and perhaps why business has been lost. Rinaldi also emphasizes that owners should meet with customers large and small. "Don't forget the smaller customers," he said. "With proper care and nurturing, they can become your biggest spenders--and your biggest advocates."

Meet with key suppliers.This will allow an owner to assess relationships and manage issues such as deadlines or product quality while reassuring business partners that positive relationships will continue.

Get on top of the accounting."Know who you are paying and why," said Rinaldi. "Know how much you are spending and why. Who's paying you on time and who's not? These are all concerns you need to examine routinely." He also explains that small adjustments to accounting practices can lead to big savings.

Get hands-on experience with the business.Geared particularly toward owners of larger businesses, this piece of advice encourages owners to take part in aspects of the business they may be unfamiliar with so as to have a better understanding of the processes involved. Rinaldi explains that seeing the boss "in the trenches" also boosts employee morale and productivity.

Create an issues list.As an owner takes part in the previous steps, he or she should also be taking note of issues that need attention and ranking them by importance. This leads into the last two steps.

Refine your business plan.Rinaldi encourages owners to determine what areas of their business need the most attention, where their particular skills are most useful and what responsibilities can be allocated to certain employees. He also stresses patience, saying, "Don't rush into changes on day one; waiting 100 days will lead to wiser decisions."

Create an advisory board.To alleviate the pressure of being the lone decision-maker of a small- or midsized business, Rinaldi suggests creating a small board of trusted advisers and meeting regularly to discuss issues. Or if a group can't be created within the business, enlisting the help of an outside advisory group can also achieve the same goals.

Ultimately, Rinaldi stresses proactive management and the willingness and ability to commit to plans and implementing as necessary traits to growing a business--in recovery periods and those of significant industry growth. FFJ

Sources

Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SecturaSOFT

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group EMH Crane Rolleri USA Nidec Press & Automation
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc.

PRESS BRAKES

STEEL

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial AMADA AMERICA, INC. Alliance Steel
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

Automec Inc.

TUBE & PIPE

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies MC Machinery Systems Inc. BLM Group
Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

SafanDarley HGG Profiling Equipment Inc.

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc.

PUNCHING

Prudential Stainless & Alloys
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit Hougen Manufacturing

WATERJET

Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc.

SAWING

Barton International
Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. Behringer Saws Inc. Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

Cosen Saws Omax Corp.
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. DoALL Sawing

WELDING

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MetalForming Inc. HE&M Saw American Weldquip
Beckwood Press Co.

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

Savage Saws Strong Hand Tools
Triform Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

T. J. Snow Company

TPMG2022 Brands


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