Tips To Recession Proof Your Small Business

If you are tired of hearing about the recession or the potential for many small businesses to fail as a result, then think again, there are ways to prepare & protect your business from the many pitfalls:

1) Keep marketing. Do not be tempted to cut or eliminate marketing activities. This is no time to cut back on marketing. If you can’t afford a full-blown marketing campaign, pursue low-cost options such as social media marketing, webinars, news releases, e-mail blasts, blogging, online newsletters or small local advertising. Be sure to keep your marketing activities going at least six months so that you can track your rate of return.

2) Develop 30-day sales goals. Do not focus on sales activities beyond 30 days. You should break down how many sales you need to close each month to meet your revenue goals.  Determine how many meetings, calls, emails & blog posts you need to have, make, send or write to generate your target sales. You must keep the sales engine rolling in your business. You should be doing at least 60 minutes of sales cultivation activities per day.

3) Cut expenses & track cash carefully. It is extremely important for you to understand your monthly burn rate & your cash position.  Determine where you can cut costs & make sure on a weekly basis that you understand what money is coming in. As you cut costs use this formula, for every €2 you utilise in business expenses, invest €1 into your marketing efforts.

4) Collect payment up front or immediately after the job/project is complete. The days of waiting 30-45 days for payments are over. You need your money now. Once a client gets to 7 days past due, get on the phone & track down the accounts payable manager for an update. Be sure you are set up to take credit cards, you may get paid a lot faster.

5) Under Promise & Over Deliver.  Excellent customer service is the number one way to beat the recession. If you do a great job & your customers love working with you, your customers will become an unpaid sales force for your business. Do great work, be highly responsive, make follow-up calls, send thank you cards, throw in little extras all that shows you care. It’s also the best way to encourage your customers to refer you to more business. Be known for delivering great products & services.

6) In a recession even some of the most highly qualified or experienced people can be looking for work. Look to out source people/companies who you can pay to do work for you on a monthly basis or who are paid on results only. You will not be tied to contracts of employment or long notice periods & may often find by looking further afield that you can cut costs whilst finding a person or a company who can do the job as well or better than the system you had in place prior

7) Pay Your Suppliers & Your staff First - Word soon gets around if you don't pay your main suppliers & staff. This can kill a businesses reputation & word will spread quickly. People who think a business is in trouble will steer well clear.

8) Network, network, network online & offline. People do business with people they like, know & trust. You need to make sure people know who you are, what you do & how to do business with you. You want to be the first person on someone’s mind when an opportunity presents itself.  One of the best ways to achieve this is by using social media. You can network online without being considered spam. Use Twitter & Facebook Fan Pages to give out helpful advice. Consider updating your LinkedIn profile regularly with updates on your business &/or any signature content such as blog posts.  When you meet a new contact, online or in person think solutions for them first. Successful networking is all about give to get.

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