Keeping Your Small Business Afloat and Weathering the Economy

    Do you have what it takes to keep your small business afloat in this economy?

    Do you have what it takes to keep your small business afloat in this economy?

    Let’s face it—the economy just isn’t getting better. Businesses aren’t hiring; they’re busy worrying about if they’ll be able to open their doors tomorrow.

    If your small business has been inching closer and closer to the brink, now is the time to try a new approach. If your business can’t grow and adapt in response to changes in the economic landscape, your chances to flourish and thrive are not good.

    Below are a few suggestions to keep your small business afloat. They may not all work in your unique situation, but we hope they’ll help you brainstorm ways to keep your business above ground today so that you can thrive tomorrow.

    Team up.

    When the going gets tough, why go it alone? Potential affiliates and strategic partners are everywhere—your vendors, your payroll company or accounting firm, and even your customers could be a valuable source of referrals; offer an incentive for affiliates that kick leads your way, and you can help each other through the tough times.

    Reassess your game plan.

    Revisit your business plan and read it over. Does it still make sense? Is your product or service as relevant now as it was when you started? If not, you might need to shift gears slightly. Ask yourself what else your customers might be looking for along with what you have to offer, and consider adding it to your current services. If technology has made another option possible, think about its future potential against the potential of what you’re doing now. Keep growing, innovating, and adapting.

    Cut costs by going green.

    Save green by going green!

    Save green by going green!

    Look for areas where you might be losing money and cut costs. Do you supply paper plates in the break room? Consider switching to real dishes (stop at your local Salvation Army for incredible deals on gently used tableware). Do you have switch lights in your bathrooms? Install motion-sensing lights and save on your electric bill. Each small change you can make, while not likely to single-handedly save your business, will add up to help keep your bottom line under control.

    Look at your packages and your competitors.

    With less and less customers out there buying, it’s more important now than ever before to position yourself ahead of the pack. Is there anything you can add to your service to give it more value? Can you break down existing packages and allow services to be ordered a la carte, or can you package services together? (Of course, avoid being the very bottom in prices, since many shoppers equate the lowest price with the lowest quality.)

    Take advantage of free social marketing.

    While it’s easy to get sucked into the world of social media and start missing the forest for the trees, a solid marketing strategy plus a little bit of time management can go a long way. Look for the most effective ways to use Facebook, Groupon, and other social networking and social marketing sites to your greatest advantage.

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