Don’t Get Caught in the Recession Trap

December 9, 2008

“Oh no, we’re in a recession,” you think to yourself, “How is my small business ever going to survive?”

“We’ll have to lay off the entire staff.  We’ll have to cut our marketing budget.  We can’t buy any new supplies.  Time to buckle down and wait for them to tell me when it’s over.”

It’s time to take a good long look at the reality of your business.  The recession is real, and it may be impacting us for quite some time, but it will not touch everyone.  Everywhere you look there are businesses that are managing to move along quite well.  And if you own or operate a small business, don’t get sucked into thinking that you have to be stingy right now.  That could be the mistake that costs you your success.

The National Small Business Administration has eased lending to small businesses nationwide.  That means that the tightening credit market may not affect you as much as the big corporations.  And for many small businesses, the amount of credit needed is not significant enough to cause any real trouble.

Small businesses are nimble.  You can come up with new and innovative ways to do business early and often.  This leaves the door open to meet new customer needs, market aggressively without spending a lot of money, and offer a little compassion to your bigger clients who may be feeling the recession more than you are.

It’s true, some small businesses are definitely going to be affected.  But many are not.  Many have the opportunity to thrive and grow during this time.  I am currently working with two small businesses that have seen increased growth in the past few months, and there are no signs of slowing.  Here are a few strategies that your small business could use to grow while everyone around you sinks:

1.    Increase your online marketing. It’s cheap and easy to run a couple of search engine ads.  Develop a word of mouth campaign that your customers can use to spread the word.

2.    Lower your prices. Your customers are cutting their spending.  If you want their business now and in the future, cater to their needs.  They will remember you for it.

3.    Offer a free trial to potential customers. If you can take advantage of those people or businesses that are price shopping now, you can steal some market share from the competition.  Now might be the cheapest time to attract new business.

4.    Focus on customer service. People need to know that you care.  Now, more than ever, a good customer service department can go a long way towards forging strong customer loyalty.

5. Create a detailed spending plan.  Don’t be afraid to spend money, just know where it is all going.  Find the things that are working, and do more of it.  When the market comes back, you’ll find yourself on top.

Just because the economy is in a recession, that does not mean you are.  Take a second to think for yourself.  Could your business be doing more right now?  The way to get to where you want to be is to be moving forward as everyone else is standing still.

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