Hard Times and Pressing Forward: How Small Businesses Succeed

Drive to succeedEvery entrepreneur hits hard times due to overhead, payroll, the economy, or any number of reasons why the coffers get low or revenues drop. It’s a time to take inventory of the situation, particularly what is coming in and going out. Being a successful business means overcoming anything that comes your way. Here are some steps and tips to take when hard times hit.

  • Check your numbers – look at your cashflow for the last 90 days and the same 90 day period from the previous year(s), if you’re not just starting out. Are there unexpected expenses? A big accounts receivable? Does revenue have cycles and it’s just a tough time? Sole proprietors can do their personal budgets to “cut costs,” as well.
  • Circle around – if you are in the services industry, contact your past clients with a friendly “thank you” for past business and offer them a promotional code for new projects or referrals.
  • Look for discounts – check your own service providers and their competitors to get better rates or plans for items such as Internet, phone, insurance, etc. to reduce your expenses. We have reduced our expenses over 10% in the last two months by switching some providers.
  • Expand into new territories – if you offer a product or service that can be tailored to the market, now is the best time to do so. Stop making things or selling services for things on the decline or with a small share of the market if that is the majority of your business. If you already have the big players covered, expand into the niches if you can do so cheaply.
  • Social media, yo! – one caveat about social media: if you’re going to do it, do it right or you’ll only hurt yourself. A Facebook page for your company and a vibrant, relevant, likable Twitter account can take your business to the next level or kickstart a new one in a major way.

Dear Service Providers

I have my own little “especially in this economy” statement for you all:

“Don’t piss me off trying to sell me more services when you’re not keeping me happy with the services I’m already paying you to provide, especially in this economy where I have more resources than ever before (both financial resources and competition-related) to dump you like a sack of potatoes and go to one of your competitors. MY economy is fine, but clearly yours isn’t if you’re calling upon me to give you more money.”

We’ve already ditched Verizon and we’re not afraid of change so much that we won’t change every single service provider we’ve got to stop this nonsense.

We will not:

  • Accept any service offered through an unsolicited phone call – I will call you
  • Accept sub-standard service/support
  • Continue to pay our current rates if there are better offers for equal services
  • Pay more for the same services “just because of the economy”
  • Submit to pressure to add services we don’t want or dump services with other providers that are keeping us satisfied

/end rant. I’ll have more on this after we sort out this matter and explain how it started and how I finish it.