Posted by: brucestein | February 25, 2009

Surviving a Recession

Pick up any business related publications these days, and you are sure to run into one or more articles about surviving the recent downturn in our nation’s economy.  At TASC, we have our own strategy for doing far more than just surviving a recession.  In fact, we have strategies in place for thriving in these challenging times!  My guide for growing a business follows; I think it’s pertinent no matter the economic climate.

Most of the articles I’ve read stress maintaining tight control over your financials, touting this strategy as a key to surviving in rough times.  At TASC, we’re also concerned with achieving a tight control over our financial situation.  This means we will continue to stress the timely collection of our account receivables, be these administration fees or account contributions.  Further, our emphasis on receivables means we must actively manage our customer credit.  I know some may think that TASC doesn’t extend credit to Clients… But look at it this way: we are in fact extending credit each and every time we pay a Participant’s reimbursement before we’ve received the contributions to cover the reimbursement.  TASC is going to remain diligent to ensure the timely collection of account funding.

Let me provide more perspective on this issue.  TASC annually collects roughly 35 million dollars in administration fees.  By contrast, we collect about 10 times that amount in account funding.  Why wouldn’t this be an area of high concern for TASC?  We will continue to use traditional methods and accepted business guidelines when developing procedures for collecting our fees and account funding.  We will continue to tightly manage customer credit by segmenting customers based on their credit risk.  After all, it is always prudent to be careful about the extending credit.

What can you do?  Make sure the vendors you depend on are stable, whether they’re providing goods or services.  This includes your banker, your printer, your office supply store…even TASC.  We in turn are following our own advice; we’re taking steps to ensure that all of our vendors are stable.

At TASC we are in a fortunate position indeed.  We offer services that make health care affordable and reduce taxes, and these services are in demand no matter the state of the economy.  Our corporate structure is stable and our leadership is strong.  Meanwhile, we are very good at managing risk, and we have enough mass to ride out economic downturns.

Saying that, I want to stress that we are looking hard at our business, as always, to ensure that we continue to thrive.  We continue to look for ways to cut costs without reducing the value of our services.  Watch for us to continue to cut unproductive services and to eliminate wasteful procedures.  We’ve already found many ways to cut costs and add value at the same time.  For example, by eliminating or reducing paper checks we save money, simply because it’s less expensive to use the web or other electronic methods to move money.  And they’re not just less expensive; electronic Participant reimbursements are more secure and faster than paper reimbursements.

Looking for ways to eliminate waste is good for business, no matter the economic climate.  And being strict about limiting credit is good for TASC, no matter the economic climate.  Simply put, these are sensible building blocks for any good business, be the weather foul or fair.


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