Lean times have put many small businesses on the defensive as they find ways to survive this down economy. While surviving the difficult times is foremost on a business’ agenda, thriving now, and planning for the future should be high on that list.
“The best offense is a good defense,” but defense doesn’t allow you to score. There are opportunities created by the slumping economy, and it is the savvy business owner that will turn over that coin and find the opportunity in the problems.
Advertising: A business may be able to survive for a while by cutting its advertising, however not forever. The trick will be to get the same or more advertising for less money. Those selling advertising are struggling in this economy, too. White space is worth nothing empty.
Capitalize on their need to fill their advertising space. Tim Ferris, author of the Four Hour Work Week, recently had an excellent article “How to Get $250,000 of Advertising for $10,000.” While your budget may not be nearly as large, the techniques he talks about will help maximize your advertising budget and exposure. Your business potentially may be able to get the advertising space you had before the recession at better rates. If your budget allows, contract your advertising space in advance; prices will likely go back up as the economy recovers.
Getting Trim: Businesses have had to make difficult decisions to remain solvent in a declining economy. This has meant eliminating waste, reducing inventory, curtailing credit funded growth, and relying more on cash because of declining credit lines. When is stopping waste, working within your means and growing as capital allows a bad thing? Never!
The heart attack patient knew that they were 40 pounds overweight before they ended up in the ER, they just never did anything about it. Businesses knew that they needed to make changes before this crisis and they avoided it. Now businesses are being forced to make the decisions which are good for the business’ survival now, and growth going forward. Don’t fear the changes, embrace the new trim way of working and instill it in the culture of your small business
Employees: While staffing may be an area to trim, it can also be an area that a business can enhance in this economy. There are a variety of skilled professionals and freelancers looking for work. Whether it’s employing someone regularly or a contractor, talent is cheaper than ever. Is there a project that you have been delaying due to the high cost of the technical skills needed to complete it. Employees and freelancers may be willing to accept less for the security of a six month contract. Pursue those contracts as capital becomes available, perhaps on the revenue you saved on advertizing.
The bad economic times have requried small businesses to evaluate how they are doing business and make serious changes in order to survive. The beauty of the lean times is becoming aware of how much waste we had in the rich times. The changes your business makes now can ensure its survival through the recession, as well as it’s growth after the recovery.?