Chris and Craig | Business Strategists

Business survival strategy, Three Buckets and the forces of Hell unleashed

Business survival strategy, Three Buckets and the forces of Hell unleashed

Forces of HellOn the 31st July 2008 the UK Chancellor Alistair Darling famously gave an interview where he said that Britain’s economic conditions were “arguably the worst they have been for 60 years”. Alistair's has since gone on record as saying that "the forces of hell were unleashed" after his frank warning of the economic storm ahead from all political parties. Surprisingly Alistair is still Chancellor and I can't help wondering isn't it time you were honest with yourself and started to work out your company's survival strategy to combat the worst recession since the war.Building your Business's survival strategyYou can start to build your own business survival strategy by using Three Bucket workshop approach detailed below to build your very own survival strategy.The Three Bucket workshopGet your management team in a room and tell them the War cabinet is now in session all communication with the outside world has is now cut off. My preference would be to appoint a facilitator and meet at the weekend to keep the meeting relaxed and interruption free. Get three buckets and label them 50%, 75% and Core.There are the 5 stages to complete this process and the battle is about to commence.Stage 1. This is probably the most boring bit, but it may also be a revelation as to how your management team are spending their time. Write down the names of all of your products, services, innovations, departments and functions. This could be done on post-it notes, pieces of paper or a white board. Document and distribute the list to each member, leaving space at the bottom in case new areas are unearthed.Stage 2. The first bomb has just been dropped on your customer base and you have lost 50% of your customers revenues as a consequence. What does your business need to stop doing to keep in business afloat?Based on the list (If an your team think of new areas not already covered in the original list just add them to everyones list, the more the better). Ask each individual to write down, on a separate pieces of paper, everything your business would need stop doing to keep profitable. Put the pieces of paper in the bucket marked 50%. Stage 3. A second bomb has just been dropped and you have lost another 25% of your customers revenues as a consequence, so in total your revenues have dropped by 75%. Now what does your business need to stop doing to keep in business afloat?Based on the list (again if your team think of new areas not already covered in the original list keep adding them to everyones list). Ask your team to write down, on individual pieces of paper, everything your business would need stop doing to keep profitable. Put the pieces of paper in the bucket marked 75%. Stage 4. Ask you team to look at the items that they have left from the list Those that remain should be considered as core Business, and the remaining items should be put in the core bucket.Stage 5. Up to this stage the team have individually decided on which items go in the buckets. Now the fun and games commence. Create an inventory of the items that have been placed in each bucket. Start with 50% bucket and the the highest word count and discuss and agree as a team that it is placed in the right bucketNow look at the 75% bucket and the the highest word count and discuss and agree as a team that it is placed in the right bucket.Lastly look at the Core bucket and the the highest word count and discuss and agree as a team that it is placed in the right bucket.The core bucket now contains the Business's reason to exist and the things that you should never stop doing. The 75% bucket is the buffer that captures items that are controversial, and for the time being can be left alone. The 50% bucket contains clear guidance as to the things you should stop doing.Confident?After this exercise is completed you will feel confident of your survival strategy, However, watch out for the sword of Damocles, before you stop items qualify your findings with hard financial evidence. Your Survival strategy is now both agreed by top management and qualified. What you have achieved in a day is something that most organisations will never arrive at. You have created a Survival strategy, a sense of urgency, and a focus that can direct the actions of your management team to weather the financial storm ahead. www.craigscopy.com "Money talks just listen."

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