For many small businesses, layoffs, hiring freezes and elimination of services have been business as usual during the recession. Survival during tight economics times can be difficult, but with some time-tested strategies in place, small business owners can still capitalize. From Smart Biz and About.com Entrepreneurs, here are some small business tips for surviving a recession.
Focus on the strength of your business
When business begins to hit a lull, too many small businesses go into panic mode and try to be all things to all people in order to maintain a customer base. Rather than leaping into new ventures and releasing new products, focus on your strength in order to maintain market share. You carved out your niche by doing what you do best, and a recession is not the time to change that stance.
Think outside the box to find new markets
Thinking outside the box in your search for new places to do business enables you to market your core product to a previously untapped customer base. Even though a small business may have limited cash flow and expenditure allowances, spending a little bit more in order to provide service to an unexplored market niche can be a very worthwhile investment.
Understand your best customer
Even if you know which niche market you want to target, you have to know your specific audience. This is the only way to know what customers need and how your small business can meet those needs better than the competition. As Smart Biz suggests, it could be reduced prices, bundled packages or more one-on-one work with clients. Know what clients want, adapt to their needs and provide strong customers service. Customer loyalty is sure to follow.
Stand out in the crowd
In order to gain an advantage over the competition, it doesn’t pay to merely copy what they’re doing. Through observation, market research and a great deal of determination, small business owners can discover what in-demand services and products are not otherwise available. Whether it’s an innovative pricing model, customized services or a product that meets customer demand with greater efficiency, don’t be afraid to stand out from the competition.
Hire outstanding talent
It’s been said many time: a company is only as good as the people it employs. Thus, it makes sense to screen potential employees, not only for experience and skill set but for the right personality fit.
Help customers make money
A great way to help build customer loyalty is to empower customers to make money of their own. The boom of online social networking has opened up a world of moneymaking opportunities. For some small businesses, affiliate network programs enable businesses to keep customers in the loop while customers receive a percentage of affiliate sales.