Worried about whether your business can survive another recession? You’re not the only one losing sleep. In a recent survey by Citibank, 83 percent of small business owners said they are concerned about another economic downturn.
However, many entrepreneurs emerged from the Great Recession with some handy survival strategies. In the same survey, 77 percent said they would be prepared if the economy went south again. While it’s still unclear if we’re heading into another slump, it never hurts to think ahead. Here are some questions to ask yourself to make sure your business is on strong footing, no matter what the economy does.
Have I asked what the company could do better lately?
Ask your staff to be honest and, if necessary, challenge the way you’re doing things. “The best business owners want employees on their team who will not be `yes people’—as long as there’s a healthy respect,” says Kris Cavanaugh, who advises business owners on how to achieve their personal and professional goals at Shift, an Atlanta firm. Also, seek suggestions on how to improve your business from advisors such as your accountant and lawyer—and your clients.
Do I know where all the money is going?
Even small areas of waste or nonessential spending in your business can hurt your business over time. “There may be some things you don’t have to buy so your cash flow stays stronger,” says Cavanaugh. If you’re losing track of purchases by your team, now is the time to put tighter controls in place.
Is talent on our team being wasted?
Evaluate whether there are people on your staff whose skills are not being utilized the way they should be, suggests Cavanaugh. Using even one person’s highest skills more effectively can give your company an edge.
Do I have the right assistant?
No CEO excels in every area. When you’re navigating a tricky economy with a small team, it’s very important to have an assistant whose skills complement your own, says Cavanaugh. It will help you to maximize your effectiveness. “The best CEOs have a really great support network,” Cavanaugh says. “They have surrounded themselves with people who are good at the things they are not good at.”
Am I using joint ventures to economize?
Partnering with another, noncompeting business is a great way to stretch your marketing budget, says Cavanaugh. For instance, someone who runs a personal training business might put together an educational seminar with other wellness professionals, such as a spa owner and chiropractor, to attract prospects who are likely to use the services of all three.
When times get tough, the tough get creative.