In tough economic times, many people are turned off by the idea of starting a small business. Statistics it may seem are not in their favor. Even when someone does get a business off the ground, keeping it running smoothly and successfully requires more energy than some may be willing to muster.
While situations vary depending on the product or service you sell, there are certain practices to keep in mind if you are trying to keep a small business afloat. Consider the following five points.
1. Maintain the Strengths You Already Have
This usually means maintaining those employees your company would be crippled without. There are likely certain people in the company that are masters in their particular skill. Do everything you can to make sure you don’t lose them. If the possibility exists to do so, consider hiring a backup. Then train that person in the same work. It may be a financial investment, but think of what would happen to your company if that person were suddenly gone.
2. Keep the Workers Happy
Workers are of course the lifeblood of the company. In addition to having backups for particular skills, make sure everyone is working at their optimum level. Address the needs of the employees directly. Sit down and talk with them. Ask them how they are doing and what you can do to help them succeed. Send out emails with helpful tips, encouragement, or praise for good work. When employees know they are appreciated and that their opinion matters, they are more likely to provide quality work.
3. Address Customer Needs
If the customers aren’t happy, the business fails. Recognize and let them know that you know times are tough. Use advertising that appeals to the tough economic times. Offer deals and promotions, as well as products and services that people will want even in a financial crisis. Almost everyone seems to be cutting back on consumption. People are only buying what’s necessary and cutting out the luxury items. Convey to the customer that your product is something they really need, even if they don’t have excess money to spend.
4. Cut Down on Expenses
Many business owners focus only on how much they are selling. While this is certainly the most important thing to consider, don’t forget that a company can save money by cutting back on their own expenses. If your business is small enough, allow employees to work from home. This will save office rental money as well as things like paper, desks, etc. If this isn’t possible make sure all the office supplies are in good shape. Get frequent tune-ups on things like printers.
5. Learn to Delegate
When a small business starts out there may only be a few employees. At that stage there will likely be one person who calls all the shots. As the company begins to grow however, that becomes less and less effective. To increase productivity, learn to delegate responsibilities throughout the company. This will save both time and energy.