How to Keep Your Business Running Through This Recession

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Published: 18th February 2009
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The economy is in awful condition and there is no avoiding the dire forecasts and stagnant performance data issued by the news channels. Some of the biggest names in the global economy have come tumbling down from previously-untouchable thrones. Yet, this does not mean that small business owners need to take the fall along with the others. With some foresight and ingenuity, you can beat the recession...and even turn it to your favor!

Pay Attention to What Is and Isn't Working

To remain afloat in these times of recession, and to be able to swim against the current-that is, grow at a time when others are shrinking-you can't lose your cool. You need to take stock of exactly what is working and what is not working in your business, and react accordingly.

* Don't mimic what the major corporations are doing. It's not only that they have exhibited wildly flawed practices; as a small business owner, you have much more wiggle room in the way you run your operation. Your contracts are probably not as inflexible, and your ability to pick and choose merchandise means that you can shorten your reaction time.

Know How and When to Streamline

Cut the extra weight that is holding you down now at the beginning of a recession, and don't wait for it to corrode things more central, and therefore crucial, to your business plan.

* Sadly, employees that under-perform or have excessively demanding pay pretensions need to be taken out of the picture-or, at least cut down a size.

* If you're a retailer, check your data: stop buying junk that's not selling.

* Put some effort into researching how to optimize your supply chain, and consider looking abroad for alternate sources if your local provider has dried up. Though it may seem a bit harsh, globalization is not going to be stopped, and you'd be wise to embrace this trend all the sooner.

Making Your Business Stand Out in the Crowd

These are no ordinary times, and your business model shouldn't be the same old ordinary routine you ran all the way through the '90s and early '00s. Once all of the current turmoil blows over, the rewards will go to the businesses that figured out innovative ways to respond to the challenges that beset them.

* Exploit the web, and discover what business alliances you can develop-either at a minimal cost or, yes, even for free-that will produce a symbiotic relationship in your favor. Community outreach programs can work like a charm in this regard: social solidarity tends to increase in times of recession, so using this venue to get your name out will be that much more effective.

* Making the investment in sponsoring a community group during hard times will win you an enormous debt of gratitude from the community, and will be the equivalent of a giant seal of approval on your brand name.

Take the Blows That You Are Dealt

The sign of a genuine entrepreneur is being able to swallow hard, and convert short term losses into long term lessons. The key to small business survival is minimizing damages, and that means that you can't let one bad investment or business move ruin your entire operation.

* Don't let a few setbacks spell doom for your small business.

* Talk to other small business owners in your field, and consider setting up a cooperative to wade through the worst of the downturn.

* If you are having cash flow problems, discuss with your providers ways to modify payment schedules-this is not a great time to commit yourself to 100% up front payments for all your purchases.

Gaze Upon the Horizon

Running a small business in a down economy will be a tall order, and though your creativity may mean you'll achieve a greater degree of prosperity than your larger, aching competitors, you'll undoubtedly take your fair share of hits. If you make the proper choices, however, and discover what direction your market is heading in, you'll be that much more likely to come out of the recession at the top of your game.

* A recession is a perfect time to do research on customer preferences, marketing strategies, cost-efficiency, and last-generation technologies that can help your business.

* Invest in a Point of Sale system, launch an email marketing campaign, reassess your stock purchases, and don't assume that just because something worked in the past that it'll keep working in the future!

* For further information and tips on surviving the recession, visit Survival Insight: How to Survive a Recession

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