In this very challenging business environment, it is very important to find ways to increase your business’s overall bottom line. As bad as things have gotten, you can’t allow yourself to become undisciplined to your approach to business. While it is natural to want to throw in the towel, with a little effort and some smart habits, you can turn your business around and at the very least ride out this financial storm until things get better.
If you streamline your business now, imagine how it will look when things get better! Sometimes just a few minor adjustments to your business plan, and some precautionary measures, will allow you to come out on top after the economy picks up. The alternative is to watch your business to continue to struggle and possibly even fail. It may due to start putting together a list of things you can do for your small business, but here are some great starting points.
1) Locate marketing partners for more effective cross marketing ideas. This should increase revenue for both businesses and might possibly even give you ideas for future growth.
2) Make sure to pick a marketing partner who is able to broaden and solidify your brand name. Don’t be afraid to sign an agreement that will protect both company’s intellectual properties. Use the diversity of your partner as leverage to improve the image of your own product.
3) Focus on your core product. Understand your customers’ needs and put forth the best product. Focusing on the core products at this moment in the game will keep your company on top.
4) Get feedback from customers and employees regarding the state of your business. See if they have any ideas on which your company can improve. If you cater to your customers and employees, then you know you are doing the right thing. Don’t let your ego get the best of you! Be flexible.
5) You can get feedback from employees by taking a poll or tour of the business, gathering information on the state of affairs. This may also look good in the eyes of your employees and make them work harder for you.
6) Educate employees about your business’s finances and operations so they can look at things from your point of view. This just might result in some cost savings for you. If your employees know that saving money will help them keep their jobs-and if they know what to do to save this money-it will result in a better bottom line for yourself.
7) Protect your company’s image on the web. Make sure to counter “bad press” in blogs and articles written about your company. Address any issues openly and make sure there is plenty of positive information about your company available on the web.
8) Build web sites that are SEO strong so that you can drive a lot of traffic to your company’s website. This will help give your company that positive image you need and drive website traffic-and probably website orders-through the roof!
9) Send out online worksheets or surveys to allow your customers to give you feedback on how much better your product could be. Posting these results publicly will show your company is flexible and truly concerned about customer needs.
10) Make sure you are driving sales transactions through credit cards like Visa and MasterCard. This will put you in a good position to utilize resources like Merchant Money to acquire any small business advances you may need. While you might not need a small business loan now, you might later. Services like Merchant Money can get you the advance you need quickly.
As a side note, it is important to keep the morale of your employees high. Make sure that salary cuts and work force reduction practices are the very last resort. Also, make sure these aren’t arbitrary actions and that you are truly reducing the employees who don’t contribute. The last thing you want to do is to be maligned with your best employees. You’d hate to see your best employees running to your competitors when the job market get’s better.
It isn’t easy to run a small business. In this recession, it is helpful to have a clear and effective direction. Not only do we have to work harder, but we have to work smarter. Small business owners must be conscientious of what the market will be like after the recession, and put things in place now that will simply help weather the storm without doing too much damage to themselves internally.