Published May 9, 2008

Preparing for a Recession: How to Survive a Recession

Here are a few things that you can do to stay ahead during a recession and maintain the success of your small business.

Improve Customer Service

Make sure that each and every customer gets special treatment and leaves your store or office satisfied that you have delivered much more than what was expected.

Your employees should also understand that tough times require a gentler touch and your customers need to be treated as VIPs now more than ever.

Since all your competitors may be selling the same products that you are, it will be your satisfied customers who will not only bring in repeat business, but also new customers.

Improve Your Knowledge and Skills

Now would be a good time to build on your knowledge and learn new skills regarding the technical and financial aspects of your business. Your customers should be impressed with your product knowledge.

This not only will enhance your reputation as an expert, but will also ensure that they come to you if they run into difficulties.

Control Your Expenses

Now is the time for you to tighten up the controls on all your expenses, especially those that are not crucial to keeping your business going. It certainly is not a good time to indulge in luxury items; that can wait until the situation improves.

You should also split large expenses into smaller ones so that they become more manageable. Even when purchasing inventory, try to get longer credit periods or better rates by comparing prices offered by different suppliers.

Start Accepting Payments by Credit Card

If you are dealing in consumer goods, then you probably already have a credit card machine; but if you are dealing in industrial items and do not have the ability to process credit card date, then now would be a good time to make that change.

Many of your smaller customers might need to pay you by credit card if they are experiencing a cash flow problem. Recent surveys have shown that more people are using credit cards as a way to deal with the financial downturn.

Lower Your Profit Margins

Keeping in mind that it will only be temporary, this is a good time to lower your profit margins. Notify your existing and potential customers that you are making this move.

You're going to need more sales to make up the difference, and their goodwill is more important than ever. You can always raise your prices once the recession shows signs of easing.

Use the Power of the Internet

Use the Internet to advertise your products. In comparison to traditional media such as newspapers and television, the cost is very reasonable.

Hire experts who can ensure that your firm is always on top in product searches, and make your website attractive and interactive.

Motivate Your Staff

Your staff should be made aware of your business' situation in the current recessionary market. They will be motivated to work extra hard to achieve the desired results, if they are convinced that their participation can save the business - and their jobs.

You should also put in extra effort and hours, so your staff will know that you are going the extra mile yourself.

Use these ideas and seek others on your own so your small business will survive the downturn. Only businesses with a solid foundation and foresight survive the inevitable bad times that go along with managing a business. You want to be one of them.