Don’t just tread water!
The news is getting better. A slight economic upturn! There is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. This is good news, but the forecast calls for another few months of belt-tightening before a real turnaround, and that can seriously hurt a small business owner.
How can you help your business survive? Here are a few ideas I feel are important and I have used over many up and down economic cycles during my entrepreneurial career.
Plan ahead. Market yourself and not just when you are finishing up your last job. It is easy to let your marketing efforts slide, but don’t. Marketing can cost you money, and money is tight; but you will need work down the road, so make sure to follow your plan consistently.
Keep your current customers happy. The best way is to do what you’ve said you were going to do and when you said you were going to do it. Serve your customers. Treat them as though they are doing something good for you – they are! In the current economic state people want value for the dollars they are spending. If you and a competitor offer the same product or service at about the same price, offer free delivery or faster service, a different color, a different variety – some other value-added item.
Remind everyone you’ve ever done business with that you are still alive and doing business. Call, email or, if convenient, visit. Be persistent in trying to sell your product or service. One factor in getting a job from a customer could very well be calling when that person is ready to buy or contract a service. Be in the right place at the right time.
Think a little smaller. Try to offer what you have to sell to smaller companies. Try to barter if that works for you. You exchange what you have for what you need.
If business is really way off and you need to supplement your income by working somewhere else, or have had to supplement your lack of business income by working longer that you had originally anticipated, don’t give up. You are working toward a goal. Sometimes it takes a little longer to reach that goal.
Be honest and sincere. Your word is really the only thing you will be left with if the economy crashes. Be proud of what you say and do. Don’t lower your standards to get work that you are not qualified to do, or substantially lower the quality of the work you do to get work. Be honest with your customers. You will prevail if people know they can trust you.
And try to keep a positive attitude when business is bad, even though it is tough. You know that getting that one job could make or break you. Simply put, businesses want to do business with positive people, so try to keep a positive attitude when you are presenting your product or service.
Article – Copyright 2002 Stanley I. Mason. Syndicated by Paradigm News, Inc.