Yet somehow, as Wall Street giants were felled at the knees, the most determined small business owners not only survived, but thrived. This is positive proof that given enough determination and ingenuity, a business can be successful in the midst of economic ruin.
Back To The Drawing Board
A recession can mean lost revenue. As such, losses are to be expected. This means the savvy business owner is free to experiment with alternative business strategies and models. If a long-standing successful strategy still fails during a recession, why not try something new? The worst losses have already occurred, so there's no harm in experimenting with new products or services or distribution models. Many household brands had their start during a recession. James Dyson launched his vacuum company during the recession of the 1990's, while Bill Gates founded Microsoft during the recession of 1975. If a company seems to be stagnating and if the typical strategy is failing, then a recession is the perfect time to find the flaws in the plan.
Plan and Prioritize Your Business
Maybe the business model isn't the problem. Maybe it's the business mentality. What activities fill a typical business day? How much revenue does one day generate? Is a typical day filled with activities that drive the business forward, or with activities that occupy time? Are there too many priorities for one day?
Take a step back and evaluate the business' top priorities. Attach a dollar value to each priority. How much revenue does each priority generate? List daily tasks in order of importance, and then accomplish them in that order. Don't use e-mail or filing as a distraction; tasks that are required to keep the business operating should be top priority. Top priority tasks include generating client leads, finishing contracted jobs, and meeting with new clients.
Get To Know Your Clients
Your clients are the reason you have a business at all. As such, a responsible business owner should be learning as much as possible about his clients. Do market research and find out why your clients purchase your product or service. What do they think of your business? What do they read? Who do they go to for advice? Make a list of your most important clients and gather information about how to expand your client network. Host a client appreciation day with free coffee and appetizers where you tell your clients about the exciting new work your business is doing. Especially during a recession, the key to a successful business is a growing client list.
Recessions don't last forever. Within a few years, the economy could change completely, and you may find yourself with more work than you can handle. The key is to survive long enough to get to that point. Surviving a recession takes a lot of diligence, ingenuity, and organization. Take care of your small business, and it will take care of you.