CEO Advisor Newsletter™
Mar/Apr 2008
Practical Advice to Accelerate Growth and Profits

In This Issue

10 Ways Businesses Can Survive In Today's Economy

My 7 Most Important Business Lessons

Client Testimonial

Words of Wisdom

CEO Advisor, Inc. - Member of Accredited Organizations


10 Ways Businesses Can Survive In Today's Economy
Volcano Tree

With a little discipline, good organization and planning, small and mid-sized businesses can safely survive an economic downturn. Here are a few suggestions on how to stay healthy financially:
  1. Manage Your Cash Flow. Focus on the areas where your cash is being held up, such as inventory, equipment purchases, and accounts receivable. By doing so, you will be in a position to improve your current cash flow and predict a future shortfall in cash.
  2. Consolidate or Restructure Your Debt. Bring together debt from loans, credit cards, or other lines of credit. Negotiate with creditors for a longer repayment period.
  3. Look For Ways To Cut Costs. Look at direct costs, gross margins and overhead expenses carefully. You could, for example, cut down on old and obsolete inventory, and save on direct labor by better tracking and creating efficiencies.
  4. Focus On Your Financials and Make Needed Adjustments. Review and use your financial statements on a regular basis to make prudent business decisions. Act on these decisions sooner than later. Forecast quarterly to know where you stand.
  5. Tighten Your Credit Policy. Set stricter terms and conditions for extending credit. You could require a down payment at purchase, shorten the payment period, and only extend credit to select customers.
  6. Use Assertive Debt Collection Techniques. Know when to make phone calls, send written requests for payment with statements, and know when it is time to temporarily stop providing services to a customer.
  7. Carefully Plan for Expansion. It is better to stick to what you are already good at and just try to make it better. If you do expand, create a brief business plan and forecast based on research before expending your time and money on new products and services.
  8. Negotiate With Your Suppliers. Negotiate what you are paying your suppliers. If you have a long term relationship with any of your suppliers then you may be able to get better credit terms.
  9. Focus On Customer Satisfaction. Work on retaining the customer base that you have built up with follow-through, stellar customer service, and quality control. Then, upsell to increase business with these customers.
  10. Know Your Financing Options. Know where to get money before you need it. Some financing options are based on future sales and have flexible repayments, such as invoice factoring or merchant/business cash advances. Focus on building relationships with current lenders, and establish a business line of credit for short-term cash needs.
Seek help to complement your expertise, especially where a lack of your time or a pressing need exists. It can be the difference between success and failure. Contact Mark Hartsell at (949) 759-8676 for a free consultation.


Our mission is to provide CEO's and business owners of small to mid-size companies the needed focus and expertise, coupled with hands-on advice to grow your business. To take your business to the next level, call Mark Hartsell, MBA, President at (949) 759-8676 or email Visit us at for more information.

  • My 7 Most Important Business Lessons
  • America is a thriving country for small and mid-sized business owners. Thousands of people start businesses in the United States every day. Many fail at running a business every day. What causes one business owner to succeed where another fails? There are seven key areas to focus your efforts for a successful business. It starts with knowing oneself and ends with not being afraid to ask for help. 1. Know Yourself To be a successful business owner, there are many personal sacrifices you will make. You must also realize your strengths and weaknesses and get professional help where needed. Your basic roles in a mid-sized or small business are in marketing, sales, planning and forecasting, product/service development, funding, finance/accounting and administration. To get the needed results, it is rare for one person to play all these roles equally well. You must know what aspects of your business you can handle yourself and what aspects you are going to need help with. 2. Action Planning I like to call it "action planning" rather than "planning". Action is the only element which turns a plan into reality. Many people are great at planning but they suffer when it comes to follow-through. Successful CEOs and small business owners are action oriented. But that action starts with a plan. According to leading authorities, the main reason 80% of all businesses fail within the first five years is not money, but the lack of planning resulting in wasted time and money, missing critical opportunities and many failed products that could have been successful. 3. "Get Inside" Your Customer's Head Are you listening to your customers? They are the reason you are in business, and your future depends on them. Don't forget, it is the customer that determines whether or not you succeed. Price your products and services properly, manage your direct costs and overhead efficiently and you will be on a path to success. 4. Know Your Industry You can gain the greatest competitive edge if you intimately understand your industry. You should know every competitor's strengths and weaknesses. It's in your competitor's weaknesses where you will most frequently find your own success. 5. Understand Your Financial Reports The "game of business" is played with products and customers, but the score is kept in dollars and cents. Good financial records and accounting procedures are critical to a successful and secure business. Learn how to read and analyze your financial statements. Also, run and analyze financial ratios. Use these tremendously important reports to better manage your business and make decisions. This is the difference in a successful CEO and one that is flying blind and at risk. 6. Manage Your Cash It doesn't matter how unique your business is, your business cannot survive without good cash flow. Cash is the lifeblood of your business. A monthly Cash Flow Statement is a critical business tool. It identifies the various sources of incoming cash and the reasons for outgoing cash. Budget wisely and remember through it all, the old adage "cash is king" is true. 7. Ask For Help When You Need It When you're young and unseasoned, you tend to think you can do anything. Or when your business grows to a certain level, you feel you can continue with the same methods of operating. This is a formula for disaster for a business owner. Remember, getting results is what counts! Don't be too proud to ask for help. Like any game, the game of business has rules and tools. Those who excel at the game, play it better than their competitors. Keep focused upon these seven critical areas and you will succeed. CEO Advisor, Inc. provides extensive expertise and services to strategize, plan and forecast for the coming year. Visit for more information, or call Mark Hartsell at (949) 759-8676 for a free consultation.

  • Client Testimonial
  • "I have been a client of Mark and CEO Advisor, Inc. for 2 years, and Mark has introduced many new ideas for us to improve our business. Once implemented we have seen very tangible increases in our sales that have added greatly to the value of the company. In addition, because of Mark's experience, he has advised us on many organizational changes, such as revamping our sales strategy and team that will have a big impact in the future as we raise additional funding and we ultimately sell the business. Mark has also helped us with our financials and coached us on using this information to make better management decisions. Mark has shown us how to increase the price of our products and services without impacting our customer acquisition, which has been a large boost to our revenues. I strongly recommend Mark and his company." President/Founder
    Advanced E-Media, Inc.

  • Words of Wisdom
  • "Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline and execution."
                                            - Stephen Covey

  • CEO Advisor, Inc. - Member of Accredited Organizations

    • Tech Coast Venture Network
    • Technology Council of So. Cal.
    • Orange County Venture Group
    • Irvine Chamber of Commerce
    • Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce
    • Institute for Independent Business

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