Keeping Your Small Business from
Being Swallowed By the Big Boys
Wall Street nose-dived this month when investors realized the administration’s $700 billion rescue plan and steps by other governments were not unfreezing credit markets fast enough. Predictably, the effects of that market shakeup have been reverberating all over Main Street.
What I Think:
The grim economic conditions in the U.S. and beyond could significantly reduce the small-business survival rate. But when the going gets tough, (to coin a phrase), the tough get going.
What are the best actions for SBOs to take in light of the sliding financial markets? Dave Colburn, CEO of Smart Online, suggests: “By casting a larger shadow, small-business owners can prevent their businesses from being swallowed by bigger fish.”
To get that done, Colburn urges SBOs to use these proven tactics to increase their chances of survival by creating the illusion that they are larger than they seem:
1. Create a Small-Business Network – Bundling products/services with those of another small business may help the “little guys” compete with larger businesses at a lower price to their customers. Sharing customers allows small businesses to reach larger markets.
2. Do Not Disappear – While it might be necessary to cut spending in the marketing department, disappearing totally is not the way to go. Instead, be more strategic by choosing advertising and sponsorship opportunities that speak directly to your customer base. By making those outlets aware of your intent to advertise exclusively in their spaces, and buying in advance, you can usually count on better rates.
3. Whatever You Do, Do Not Sacrifice Quality – Layoffs during economic downturns may be unavoidable but if it’s necessary to downsize, the quality of your product or service should not suffer. Maintaining your reputation costs a lot less than rebuilding it.
4. Take Advantage of the Resources Available to You -The internet is a powerful and cost-effective tool to help small business communicate with their client base—current and potential. Take advantage of networking sites to reach a larger audience: Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter can effectively send your message directly to customers.
5. Pay Attention to Your Business – This no time to let little things fall through the cracks. Pay bills on time, set up bill reminders, and guarantee that your business can still afford its office expenses. Also, pay close attention to legal regulations that may affect your business. We’re seeing that what goes on in Wall Street affects you, so pay attention to the news, and make sure you’re in compliance with employee regulations. The Small Business Administration has found that regulatory compliance costs small businesses 45 percent more than it does their larger counterparts.
This month’s turmoil on Wall Street has gripped the attention of investors, consumers and politicians around the globe. Depression may not be in our future, for as always, the stock market is sure to rebound. But as Dave Colburn points out, the time for taking action to assure your business’ survival is now!
Dave Colburn is CEO of Smart Online (http://www.smartonline.com), provider of online systems for small businesses. He has extensive business experience, having previously served as President, Global Manufacturing Industry Practice, Electronic Data Systems, a provider of business and technology solutions. His career includes service as president of four manufacturing and industrial corporations, and chair of several automotive industry association boards of directors.
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Bill Willard has over 30-years experience providing high-impact written communications to small-business owners and independent professionals. Through interactive, Web-based “Do-While-Learning™” programs, e-Newsletters and straight-talking articles, Bill helps clients get the job done: profitably improving performance, helping grow their businesses, skipping expensive mistakes, making the journey to success faster, smoother, easier. And fun! A Phi Beta Kappa and former managing editor, he lives in Clearwater, FL.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit his Website: http://www.writergazette.com/WillardAssociates.shtml
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