Investing In A Tight Economy – Practical Successes From The Company Next Door

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Written by Scott Driggs,  Custom Information Services

One of the joys of my job at Custom Information Services is the opportunity to interact every week with literal dozens of financial decision makers across just about every industry.  As a Microsoft Dynamics GP  salesman, I am in a unique position to see a cross-section of the economy and learn first hand what individual companies are doing to overcome the challenges they are facing in the current economic climate.  I would like to share some snippets of these conversations with you in a new blog series I will call investing in a tight economy.  Hopefully, it can give us not only a sense of optimism about the overall state of the economy but perhaps it can also give some practical ideas worth duplicating in your own business.

Controller for $50M Wholesale Petroleum Distributor has Invested into the Downturn:

“Business has certainly slowed down for us. We have gone from growing each quarter to having flat sales for the last couple of quarters. As a management team, we took advantage of this slowdown to make two needed investments in the business. The first thing that we did was to bring on two additional sales associates. Next, we started looking for new software to run the business operations. The current solution was a small niche application that the business was quickly outgrowing. We felt like this was a good time to make this investment. As a more experienced management team, we knew that business would eventually pick up. We also knew that this type of project would take a lot of time and energy that we might not have in the busy times.  I am happy to report that we are now live on our new ERP solution.  We anticipate that as a result of these investments that we made we will be in a better position to benefit from the upswing of this economic cycle.”

Ideas to consider:

  • Move up the timetable on large projects such as ERP implementations to take advantage of downtime
  • Rather than cutting headcount, hire more sales associates because your competition is not

 $20M Chemical distributor and Water Treatment Services Company Diversifies Services:

“Business has actually been up for us this last year” according to their Controller.  “We attribute that to an increase in the demand for our products and services from more environmentally conscious consumers and businesses. We also think some of our success has come from increasing the percentage of revenue we derive from services.  We have expanded our service offerings for our oilfield customers and have also brought the majority of the local transportation services we offered in-house.”

Ideas to consider:

  • Unable to raise prices? Increase the number and mix of services offered instead
  • Bring a business process in-house that you are currently contracting for
  • The green spin: Highlight environmental differentiators between you and your competition

More to come next month:

If you care to comment on the information above or have any questions please feel free to contact us at 682-367-1699.

By Scott Driggs, Custom Information Services, a Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner in North Texas

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