Full Speed Ahead?

Do You Have What It Takes?

Is your company ready to capitalize on a crisis situation? Here are several concerns you need to address well before one occurs:

The issue of personnel is the first thing you need to examine before going after crisis dollars, according to Dr. Jan W. Zupnick, president of The Entrepreneurship Institute, a Columbus, Ohio, nonprofit educational organization that provides workshops for presidents of small and midsized businesses. "If you're going to try to be opportunistic, you can't do it without people," says Zupnick. And if you get the people, you also have to make sure they'll have something to do when the crisis is over. If you don't retain a significant percentage of your short-term gain, you'll be left with employee overload.

Zupnick says the same considerations that apply to your personnel situation apply to your equipment. If the crisis opportunity motivates you to buy equipment that will help you in the long term, do it. If not, forget it.

Third is infrastructure. Consider whether a strategic move means you'll need extra electricity, lights, sewer connections, water or parking spaces. "Most of these things become fixed costs," he says, "and that will only make it harder for you to break even."

Lastly, look at the question of resources--both financial and intellectual. Whether the banks will be able to fulfill your borrowing needs is more certain than whether you have the knowledge and skills to pull off the crisis move. "You don't have to know it all yourself," Zupnick says, "but you do have to know whom to call if you don't know something."

Contact Sources

Capital Delivery System Inc., 4660 Pell Dr., Ste. A, Sacramento, CA 95838, (916) 929-9458

The Echols Group, (404) 815-2081, http://www.echolsgroup.com

The Entrepreneurship Institute,http://www.tei.net

Global Datalink Inc., (800) 929-2GDI, http://www.gdi.net

UGA Businss Center, 1770 Indian Trail Rd., #410, Norcross, GA 30093, randoh@sbdc.uga.edu

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This article was originally published in the April 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Full Speed Ahead?.

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