by Ali Brown
Although the credit crunch is still weighing on millions of people, it doesn't mean the end for every small or medium-sized business. In fact, this is a great time for savvy entrepreneurs to grow a business and prosper by thinking creatively and strategically. To make sure your business thrives during the downturn, you need to take a good hard look at your business.
Here's how you can flourish during difficult times. It just takes a bit of creativity...
1. Trim the fat. Now's the time to review your company finances in a calm and collected manner. Be sure to look at what is being paid on time. Then look for waste and how you can save - there are sure to be a few places where this is possible. Eliminate expenses that aren't essential to your core business.
2. Know your customers. Spend time with your customers and find out more about their needs so you can deliver what they want when they want it. Also consider sending out a customer satisfaction survey to gain additional insights. Continue offering great service and going above and beyond so that every customer feels as if they are getting the VIP treatment.
3. Stay ahead of the competition. Researching your competition is invaluable so you can make sure you're competitive with their quality and service. Also remember that during a downtown, some of the people who are laid off may start their own businesses. Monitor the market for newcomers, but remember that you have a head start.
4. Enhance your offering. Cutting prices is one way to make your product or service more attractive, but it's not the only way. Once you lower your prices, it can be hard to raise them again. Think about adding other incentives like reduced delivery times or added bonuses instead.
5. Adapt to the market. If you notice that sales are declining in one area, focus your efforts on areas that are seeing more sales. Don't waste your time on sectors that are in freefall. If your business is focused on a single product, consider repositioning it and be ready to cater to people's changing needs.
6. Invest in you. Now is the perfect time to build on your knowledge, skills, and talents by attending conferences, taking a professional development course, or investing in a business coach. It will help position you as an expert in your field and give you a competitive edge!
7. Make more noise. Continue advertising if you can afford it, but look for other inexpensive ways to get the word out. Perhaps start a blog, join web forums in your field, or write a column for a trade publication or local newspaper.
8. Prepare for the good times. Remember that a recession is a periodic event, but it doesn't last forever. Resist the urge to run for cover. Instead, keep doing business.
Come out fighting and energize your business to ensure that you don't go the way of the dinosaurs. The good times will come again - this is your chance to make sure you're a part of them.
© 2009 Ali International, LLC
Self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur Ali Brown is devoted to creating financial freedom for women globally through the power of entrepreneurship. To learn how to create wealth and live an extraordinary life now, register for her free weekly articles at www.AliBrown.com