Recent world health events have created difficult economic times. As a small business owner, you are probably experiencing additional pressure with people staying in and spending less, especially if you operate a store-front business that relies heavily on foot traffic rather than on online commerce.
What can you do?
When you started your business, you probably never expected to be worrying less about long-term success and more about short-term survival, and you are not alone. What can a small business do to minimize costs, reduce risks, and maintain an acceptable cash flow?
Specific decisions will differ from one business to the next based on product, workforce, and other uniquely important issues. However, here are some general ideas of how a small business can make it through difficult economic times:
- Connect: Stay connected with your customers and your workforce as much as possible. Let people know you are still here and, if applicable, still offering your goods or services.
- Adapt: Seek out ways to adapt during challenging times. Adaptation can involve increased marketing efforts, improvised production and work methods, or even improvised products and services that better fit the changing world. For example, a local gourmet restaurant can offer carry-out options or more cost-effective menu selections. If you cannot provide your services in the same way as before, see if you can come up with an alternative.
- Streamline: It is important during economically lean times for small businesses to get lean themselves. This can mean decreasing overhead, reducing products or services that have the lowest profit margins, and if necessary, reducing staff.
- Seek Help: Apply for government assistance. The U.S. Small Business Association has information and links to both guidance and resources available to small businesses. You can also seek additional support from donors, family, and friends.
As an owner of a small business dealing with tough economic times, you have some choices to make to help your business survive. You have likely overcome many obstacles on your path to becoming a business owner. By carefully considering your options, you can help your business continue to survive in an everchanging world.