As the year comes to an end, the effects of the brutal economic year are everywhere. With drastically slow revenue streams and a national unemployment rate hovering around 10%, there's no question that business has been tough.
For small business owners, staying afloat in a recession can be quite startling. The important thing is not to let it discourage you from improving your business and realizing the potential for business growth. Here are some ideas on improving the efficiency of your business in challenging economic times.
1. Cut Costs
You've probably heard this over and over again, but are you really making an effort to reduce superfluous business expenses? Some changes are easy to make; for example, choosing a lower-priority shipping option to send packages is a simple way to reduce shipping costs. Your packages may not get there first thing in the morning, but saving on hefty shipping charges will be well worth the extra few hours it takes the delivery to arrive.
Another way to cut expenses and become more efficient is to invest in your successes. If a product or service you offer isn't making you money, why continue investing valuable time and money into it? Consider reducing your investments in stale and unprofitable products, and instead focus on new and profitable projects. Large-scale changes may take a while, but now is the time to think about stability and long-term growth.
2. Creative Marketing
Can't afford to buy ads on TV or a spread in a magazine? No sweat. It's time to get creative in promoting your business and think about utilizing alternative ways to connect with your customers. Get online and establish a presence on social networking sites. If you don't already have one, start an e-newsletter and let your customers know what you're up to.
Building relationships is crucial in a recession. Once the economy starts to get better, you'll want your customers to think of you first. By keeping in touch with them now, you'll help position yourself to be the go-to service when they're ready to spend.
3. Get Help
If you know you need help in keeping your business running but can't afford another full-time employee, consider hiring a part-time employee or recruit interns. In this recessionary climate, there are lots of qualified and enthusiastic job hunters who will be happy to help out wherever possible. And who knows-as times get better you might be able to bring some team members on board as full-time staff.
It is during tough economic times that smart business owners take charge and improve the efficiency of their businesses. Like times past, the economy will get better and people will soon start spending again. Will your business be ready?
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