Having been working in a small business for many years there are a few things that I’ve found especially helpful for surviving the current economic recession. Most of my work has been in the software and computer industries, but I think these tips for surviving the economic recession can be helpful for any small business.
Carefully Cut Costs
Just going in starting to slash your monthly expenses can have devastating effects to a small company. Start with little things and save where you can. For example, do you really need that fancy phone system or would a virtual one work just as well? For our small business we found that be using Grasshopper.com for our phone system we could save a considerable amount of money on both the phone system and our monthly phone bill. Our customers still call a professional phone system but with much less overhead on our part. In a lot of cases you can save money on IT costs by using hosted solutions. When you’re only supporting a few users it generally costs less to have a hosted email server than to run an email server in house. The same with your web hosting, file servers, and other IT needs. In each case it is best to evaluate both your current and future needs before switching to a hosted service. You might be able to save money now, but what about in 6 months, 1 year, or even 5 years.
Don’t cut out your advertising and marketing budget. It is tempting to save on your monthly expenses by cutting your marketing budge, but without the marketing will your sales drop as well? In most cases, yes. Keep track of which types of marketing have the best return on investment and stick with the ones that are best. Cut out the ones that are not as profitable. Talk with your sales representatives and find out which marketing methods are working best for them. You will need to keep a consistent long term marketing strategy going even through a recession, but you don’t need to waste money on marketing that is not effective for your business.
Look for daily and weekly manual tasks that you can automate and use that freed up time for marketing and promotion. Especially on the sales side there are a lot of customer relationship management (CRM) software and web based packages that can automate a lot of common marketing and follow-up tasks. This frees up more time for your sales and account reps to call current and potential customers to add that personal touch that most of us prefer.