How to stay on top during periods of adversity Eric Parker’s 10-point guide 1. Consolidate your debt and negotiate extended payment terms before you fall in arrears. 2. Maximise stock levels. Remember: too much stock ties up capital, too little stock leads to inefficiencies and lost sales. 3. Negotiate improved terms with your suppliers. Remember: they need your business! 4. Improve your debtors book. Offer incentives for prompt payment and give risky deals a miss. 5. Cut back on unnecessary expenses. The time to enjoy life’s little luxuries will come again but it sure isn’t now! 6. This does not mean cutting back on marketing – just make sure that everything you do is effective! 7. Keep on training and motivating your staff. This will ensure, firstly, that your customers receive superior service. Secondly, it will help you to weather the storm. 8. Revisit your pricing strategy. This does not necessarily mean cutting prices to the bone – it means that you need to target the right customers with the right product at the right price and bowl them over with service. 9. This is not the time to be magnanimous – hit your competitors while they are down! 10. Exploit the opportunities the downturn offers to the fullest extent. While the other guy blinks you can attract better franchisees, better staff and better sites.