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How to help your small business survive tough times

concernedman19185284.jpgToday's difficult economy can put tremendous pressure on every business, yet it becomes even more intensified for small businesses. There are many different factors that can put your small business to the test. This can include: recession, economic downturn, dishonest partnership, or even industry shakeout. Surviving in hard times requires a steel determination and never-say-quit attitude, for small businesses. However, surviving goes far beyond simply having a winning attitude. Here is what you need to know about how to help your small business survive tough times-

  • Get back to basics-In good times, business comes easy. You may find that your sales presentation or marketing, may be less then effective, but will get results. Surviving hard times returning full circle to the fundamental principles of business. This can include: doing regular financial checks, providing sales training, and managing your customer relationships. Remember that these are just some of the fundamentals that need to be re-learned and re-visited.
  • Cut cost carefully-While the typical cost-cutting approach by corporations in hard times is to employ a wide sweeping cost reduction policy, the opposite is true for small business. When hard times hit cost-cutting needs to be implemented with the precision. Remember that if you cut too deep, your business may never recover. If you cut too shallow, cash flow problems could force you to the back of the unemployment line. You need to exercise care and judgment, in determining what and where to cut, and by how much.
  • Process the problem but don't replay it-It's easy to fall into the trap of replaying the situation that got you here today. If you had a failed partnership, made really big, bad decision etc. replaying your mistakes is a mistake. Try to learn from mistakes and move on. Remember that surviving difficult times whether personal or events such as a recession require a healthy outlook, as well as good strategy.
  • Look outside your usual "box"-It's typical for the vast majority of small businesses, to be local not only in location, but in marketing focus. If times are hard then now is the time to be looking beyond the regular boundaries of your business. One such opportunity is international trade. This is be cause during times of the U.S. dollar being devalued in markets around the globe, smart business owners have realized the growing demand for American goods and services.
  • Connect with your peers-Remember that hard times in the form of recessions or industry shakeouts, impact more than just your business. Entire sectors of the market place can feel the stress. One useful approach to survive is applying the wisdom of crowds. Experienced and long lasting business owners, will assert that group wisdom is greater than the individual. Using the crowd wisdom advice, your business can connect with industry trade groups or professional peer groups, to extract the knowledge and best practices that should be applied during a business slump.
  • Return to low budget marketing-In difficult times (especially recessions), many business owners panic and the marketing function of a business is the first to get cut. However, with less advertising and marketing, the funnel of incoming prospects is reduced, creating even more revenue decreases, and setting up a vicious cycle. In other words this can be a fatal mistake for your business. The key to success in hard times isn't to reduce your marketing activities, but to replace them with low-budget marketing. Low-budget marketing can include such things as: PR, networking, public speaking, etc. Make sure that your marketing is not a reflection of the limitations of your budget, and only your creativity.
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