Cut Your Costs … Not Your Throat!

In these tough economic times experts advise that we work smarter by trimming fat and limiting growth.  More easily said than done.  As business men and women, we like to think that we have been charting our course in a thoughtful and rational manner.  Now we are asked to alter our approach…just to survive!  Who could have imagined this business doldrum would last this long?  Yet, here we are faced with tough decisions.

For most, slashing the advertising budget seems to be a common tendency.  Yet marketing experts warn against that.  The creation of new business is more important now than ever before and lowering your image is a tactical error.  So I decided to change my advertising approach by spreading it out.   That is, I cut back a little on the size of my ads, but reached out to a bigger client pool. This meant broader visibility, but within the same budget constraints.  In short, I would rather face the storm head-on than hunker down and hold on.         

Protect profits … Prevent losses

After a lifetime of fraud investigating, I have some advice for my commercial clients. Use a scalpel; not a hatchet!  Business and personal pressure is having its ugly way with just about everyone, but… just as with advertising considerations… the last thing to take to the chopping block is your company’s defenses.  More than ever, business today presents a target rich environment for those who would deprive you of profits with fraudulent schemes and outright theft. This, when it’s least affordable. At a time of elevated motivation, be sure you restrict opportunity. Here are some tips that will help you protect profits and prevent losses without increasing costs:

  • Review your internal controls and identify any vulnerable areas offering opportunity for fraudsters. Test your systems. Plug the holes.
  • Continue with background checks on vendors, new partners and repairmen, as well as employees.  If ever an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, this is it.
  • Be aware of dramatic changes in your employees’ personal lives that bring about financial stress. Keep your office door open.  Look into Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).
  • Implement a program that encourages and rewards fraud tips, such as a hot line. The inference is, of course, that you are watching. Most fraud takes place because the perception is that no one is paying attention.
  • Above all, let it be known that you will not tolerate fraud or theft. A good way of doing that (without insulting) is by circulating an internal memo enlisting employee help and include language to the effect:  “…keep our company safe and our jobs secure.” 

Thinking outside the box in terms of spreading advertising around worked for me.  You should think outside the box when it comes to protecting profits and preventing losses by increasing your attention to asset protection.  Cut your costs….not your throat!

Dave Watts is a Certified Legal Investigator in New Jersey. For over 30 years he has conducted all types of investigations for law firms, businesses and individuals. He and Linda, his wife of over 50 years, live in both Califon, NJ and Sanibel, FL. He can be reached at (800) 950-4808 or

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