This uncertain economy is enough to make a small business owner’s hair fall out, bowl over from a stomach ulcer or scrape up a rash that could cause customers to consider another place for products or services. The good news is that we know the economy will turn around, in time. Your job is to function smarter and keep your business moving forward till then. That means taking a hard consider the business of your business.
As small business owners we are good at what we do and make. Problems arise when we pay out too much attention to our product or service but not enough to managing the business by itself. Granted that is the part that usually evokes a dreaded “ugh, ” however it is also the part that can imply the difference between success and failure. Focusing on your financials, the people that make your business possible, and your eyesight will help ensure your survival in the current economy and beyond.
Re-Mind Your company
Cash in or Cash Out I am sure you might have heard this a thousand times, however it still needs saying. “Cash can be king. ” A business is more more likely to survive in a good or bad economy with good cash flow than with revenue. One does not necessarily mean the other. Small businesses proprietors usually have problems with cash flow no matter the particular economy. To improve cash flow do a price analysis of your business. Look at areas where you can save money such as bank and credit card charges; negotiate with lenders for longer payment arrangements. Barter regarding services or products with suppliers. If you offer credit to your customers, cut this down or out and be even more aggressive with collections. Consider outsourcing techniques services instead of hiring another employee. There are many freelancers that are experts within specific areas such as accounting and bookkeeping, website design and operations plus marketing and public relations that can cost less than an employee, benefits included. Be innovative in reducing the cost of your daily operations without sacrificing the quality of your service or product.
If you do large jobs, ask for a payment plan that includes a deposit. If you carry out large contracts such as janitorial providers for major corporations, invoice earlier and ask for early payment or offer your customers a discount when they pay the invoice within a specific time frame. In a poor economy, large corporations are looking for ways to save money as well.
If you need help with your cost evaluation or cash flow projections, ask for this. Worcester has many free and cheap resources to help you develop your survival tactics.
While cutting costs is most important, cutting back on marketing, marketing and public relations during a poor economic climate is a big mistake. Marketing and public relations are what gain you new company. When times are hardest could be the time you want to shine even brighter than before. If you do not let your clients know you are still on board, they might forget about you when the good times resurface. And they will resurface.
Develop a no cost marketing plan that includes building media romantic relationships so you can submit byline articles highly relevant to your industry. Appear on local gain access to television as an expert in your field. Join in professional, community and business networking events. Develop a customer administration program that includes regular contact with customers about subject unrelated to your business as well.
Apply for small business awards and contests by corporations, professional associations, and government. This recognition will get you attention by your customers along with potential customers that may not know you exist. Winning an award often gets you requests from other media who want to publish your story. It also builds your credibility.
Nurture Your own People
Employees It may be that without your employees you would not have a company. During this economic slowdown, communicate with your own employees. Now more than ever it is important to end up being transparent, ask for their ideas regarding improvement. Motivating employees is challenging when they are feeling shaky regarding whether they will keep their jobs. The best motivator is to provide them the opportunity to offer suggestion on how to serve the very best interest of everyone in the company on the long-haul. They may be willing to take a pay out cut or have ideas about cutting back on expenses you did not think about. Move the extra step and provide praise permanently work or ideas that work. They may be your most precious resource. It is usually less costly to keep current employees than searching for qualified employees that you have to teach when the economy improves.
Customers Keeping your existing customers by providing excellent customer service is good practice anytime. During today’s economy it is critical. It is much easier to keep existing customers than to discover new ones. Talk to your customers. Learn what they need, how they are doing monetarily, what their expectations are for the future, so you are on your game when the economy improves and your customers start investing more.
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Suppliers Supplier loyalty could be valuable when you need extra time to catch up on your account payables. Depending on your company, you may land a new account plus need supplies to launch the particular account until your first month associated with receivables is due which could be 60 to 90 days out. A good relationship with your supplier could mean your payables receive the same time consideration. Believe creatively when making deals to grow your business with the help of your suppliers. The more growth your business experiences, the more business your own supplier could expect.
Focus on the long run
Business Plan Review and modify your business plan. As your business expands and your industry changes it is necessary to maintain your business plan relevant. A well-thought out business plan that includes your own cost analysis, new marketing plan and employee and customer administration programs is critical to a quick and successful recovery. It can ensure the long run viability of your business.
Carrie H Johnson is founder of 3 businesses including a cleaning program she started with no money plus grew to a multimillion dollar contract-cleaning company that supported 165 employees. During her 17 years since President of this company she received several business and community awards.
She is the author of the book “From the Pits to the Palace: One particular Woman’s Journey to Self-Realization by means of Entrepreneurship” released in March year and available on Amazon and bbotw. com (Buy Books on the Web). She also is a journalist and it has written for several newspapers including the La Times, Worcester Telegram and Gazette and the Metrowest Daily News.