Do you want to make more money? Help your business thrive? Make a difference in the world?
There are plenty of financial "gurus" who tell you to cut back on your expenses so you can amass more money or build a nest egg.
The truth is, no business ever shrinks its way to wealth.
Here are 6 alternatives that can produce immediate results and allow you to earn more and enjoy more along the way.
1. Raise Salaries
Many employers are reducing their workforces and cutting salaries. Buck that trend. Step up and show your employees how much you value their Human Capital. Give them raises.
Why? Because employees are assets, not liabilities. No matter what your accountant says.
Savvy entrepreneurs see raising salaries during economic hardships as an investment. It creates more measurable results than handing out comparable raises during boom times. Employees produce more when they feel valued and their job is secure.
Now is the time to get the best out of your best people.
Because when you increase their salary, you also show great leadership. They'll see your strength, vision and gratitude for their contribution to your success. And they'll reward you with more productivity and loyalty.
2. Spend More
Some great bargains are available right now. At least for those who have the foresight and courage to nab them.
Many assets are undervalued and you can get them at discount prices. Think inventory, fresh hires, office supplies or even real estate for future expansion.
Bottom line: Do you want to grow your wealth more quickly and efficiently? Focus on increasing your production, rather than on slicing your expenses.
Spend where your money will have the most impact.
3. Meet Less
Control freaks run far too many meetings. They micro-manage employees and have all business decisions go through or to them.
Now is the time to empower your people, set clear expectations and boundaries, and then get out of their way.
Instead of sitting around in meetings, encourage your employees to get out. Interact with customers. Improve contacts with vendors.
Your team members can't spot new market opportunities sitting in your company conference room.
4. Stop Saving for Retirement
The best pension plan is simple: be successful.
Everyone considers qualified (government sponsored) plans as sacred cows. But you can't afford to lock your money up in retirement accounts like these. Not when liquidity is essential to creating peace of mind. And not when it prevents you from seizing the next great business or investing opportunity.
In the end, your business is a far better investment than a 401(k). It can provide ongoing cash flow without the worry of depleting principal.
So look for ways to invest in yourself and in your business. By improving your liquidity, you'll always have cash to run your business. You'll also be able to seize opportunities created by the economic dislocation of others.
5. Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
Let others worship at the altar of diversification. Now is the time to take a long, hard look at your business's core reason for existing - and focus all your resources and energies on it.
Who are you? Why do you exist? Who do you serve? What can you be the best in the world at? Stay true to yourself in hard times and shed the excesses you've allowed yourself along the way.
6. Go Back to School
Forget what you think you know about business, marketing and the economy. The world is ever changing. Fortune-makers use slow business periods to bolster their education and leadership skills.
The most successful entrepreneurs I know read daily, attend seminars and engage with mentors. They expose themselves to new adventures and ideas at every opportunity. They are always growing.
It gives them the edge they need to weather any economic storm and survive the normal twists and turns of business life.
Continuing education not only sharpens your mind. It provides networking contacts you can lean on in good times and in bad.
Many businesses are trying to survive by downsizing, cutting back and diversifying. It's not working. They continue to flounder because it's impossible to shrink yourself to wealth.
If you want to help your business thrive, you should be doing things differently.
Do what works!
Invest in your people. Spend more time and money on the right things. Invest in yourself. Stay on the cutting edge through education. And always maintain a laser focus on what you do best.
Garrett B. Gunderson is a champion of finding spendable cash for entrepreneurs without having to work harder, take more risk or increase overhead. He has dedicated his career to debunking the many widely accepted myths and fabrications that undermine the prosperity and joy of millions of hard-working, honest business owners. Gunderson's company, Wealth Factory, empowers its members to build sustainable wealth through financial efficiency and organization leading to clarity, peace of mind and financial confidence. Garrett is recognized for his NY Times bestselling book Killing Sacred Cows and his appearances as a guest contributor on CNBC, Fox News, ABC, and many others.