Business bad? What to do

The Ticker

December 09, 1991|By Julius Westheimer

If your business is slipping, you and "turnaround experts" can save it, says the December issue of Success Magazine.

Excerpts: "You know you're in trouble when profits are down, competitors' profitability surpasses yours, market share shrinks, inflation-adjusted revenue declines, investors lose faith and cash flow is poor. To recover: (1) Stop, look, listen -- then act. Oddly, rely on someone else for an opinion of the company's viability. (2) Get back in control. For example, replace a bad computer system, disband a subsidiary, trim excess staff, but treat vendors well. (3) Dump your ballast and fly. It's hard to change organizations slowly. Everybody fights you. Best way: Bam, it's over! Then you learn quickly who in the organization will embrace change."

DECEMBER DIARY: Did you know that the U.S. has the highest capital gains tax rate in the world? . . . "More than 90 percent of the newspapers surveyed by Alex. Brown media analyst Ken Berents expect no increase in Christmas-season advertising this year." (Barron's, dated today) . . . "Those who want to get ahead in the world need to talk face-to-face with people. Information is in minds, not books." (Richard Chagnon, outplacement specialist) . . . "If you work in an urban area and a raise isn't likely, ask about a subsidy to help pay mass-transit commuting costs." (CNN News) . . . "Forty percent of the government's income now goes to pay its debt to bondholders." (CNBC-TV) . . . "Although 50 percent of Americans are overweight, only one in four heavies report that they watch their weight." (Future Vision).

RECESSION UPDATE: "The government should restore an investment tax credit and embark on ambitious public works projects. The work needs to be done anyway." (Business Week) . . . "The White House isn't quite on course; the president should figure out something." (Cokie Roberts, "This Week with David Brinkley," yesterday) . . . "Two ways to wake up the economy are a 10 percent federal grant to states and, for one year only, reduce all federal income tax rates." (Op-ed article, New York Times, Dec. 6) . . . "For recovery, increased borrowing to finance public investment would be far better than capital gains or middle-class relief since all the money would directly stimulate the economy." (Robert Kuttner, American Prospect) . . . "Give a five-10-year break on federal taxes to any state and municipal enterprise that is privatized -- airports, toll roads, water utilities." (Robert Hormats, Goldman Sachs).

HOPEFULLY HELPFUL: "Hate those dinner-time telephone sales pitches? Try this. Say, 'Pardon me, but before you go any farther, may I please have your home telephone number? I want to call you at home when you're sitting down to dinner with your family. Seems only fair, doesn't it?' " (Fortune, Dec. 16) . . . "There are only two fundamentals to good management: follow the Golden Rule and invest in communications. The Golden Rule wins confidence, effective communications wins understanding. Beyond that, you don't need much management." (Harvard Business Review, Nov.-Dec.) . . . "Ninety percent of all airline passengers fly on discounted fares." (George Will, ABC-TV) . . . Ninety-six percent of firms polled by INC magazine (Dec.) offer health insurance, half have a 401(k) plan, only 8 percent offer child-care benefits . . . "Trust in God, but tie your camel tight." (Persian proverb) . . .

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