S.M.A.R.T.Training strategies mandatory at recessionary times
Chamber, YPIC join forces to offer survival training
In these difficult economic times, business owners need to take tough - and smart - measures to ensure the survival of their companies.
But they don't need to be alone in trying to create a roadway through the downturn to a better tomorrow.
"There is a proven business model that brings bottom-line results," said Ken Rosevear, executive director of the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce. "It means businesses need to work leaner and smarter."
It's a model based on principles Rosevear learned through 30 years of business experience, including turning around a struggling company.
To help share that model with local businesses, the chamber has joined forces with the Yuma Private Industry Council to create SMART (Strategies Mandatory at Recessionary Times) Training.
Launched on Thursday's "Good Morning Yuma!," the 12-point program serves as a primer for the implementation of a business plan to manage a small business during the current recession.
"The hope is that business owners will be able to make the changes they need to keep their doors open - without having to lay off employees," said Cynthia Marshall, business services officer of YPIC who has a background in sales, training and human resources through her 20 years with the Yuma Sun. In addition, she has taught Module 3 of the Supervisory Skills classes at the Arizona Western College Entrepreneurial Center for three years.
Should a business find itself in the position of having to make layoffs, there is a kinder, better way to do it than putting pink slips in with paychecks, as one company did to its unfortunate employees, Marshall said.
That's where the second part of SMART Training comes in.
"We want to do what we can to help a business succeed," Marshall said. However, when it comes down to the need for a business to reduce its work force, the training will provide guidelines for the employer.
"A lot of employers haven't gone through this before," she said.
In recent months, though it has been happening all too often, Rosevear noted, adding that he's heard there have been 6,000 people laid off in Yuma County since November 2008. "These aren't seasonal jobs," he said.
"And it hasn't stopped," Marshall said. "My dream is that people won't be laid off. But we know that's not the case now."
But before a business gets to that point, there are several steps the owner can take, Rosevear said, outlining his 12-point plan. They include carefully evaluating issues with the company, cutting expenses, keeping track of inventory, maintaining marketing, managing receivable accounts to keep money coming in, looking for innovative ways to do things and negotiating everything from rent to the cost of a part. Don't neglect safety and environmental measures and stay close to your banker and lender.
"You've got to keep track of your business internally and externally," he said. "It's got to be more than lip service. Survival depends on carefully weighing each decision. And keep up your morale for the sake of your employees and customers."
The training can be done at the business or at YPIC. All discussions will be confidential.
"The more (owners) open up, the better we're able to help them," Marshall said.
Appointments for training can be made by calling the chamber at 782-2567 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Each session is approximately one hour.
The training is being offered free to chamber members, as well as nonmembers,