According to a USA Today article, small businesses in the U.S. are vulnerable should we encounter a recession. The article states that small businesses are less able to weather a difficult economy than larger businesses due to a lack of financial reserves. In order to combat the weakened economy, smart small businesses are streamlining their costs, cutting back, hunkering down and trying to be more efficient. So just how does a small business ‘hunker down’?
It takes more than cutting back on office supplies to make a difference large enough to keep a small business afloat in the rough waters of a down economy. Reducing overhead is crucial. One option would be to make your office paperless. The savings in consumables like paper and toner far outweighs the initial cost of a scanner, software and removable or online storage for backup.
If the business is of a nature that doesn’t require a physical office, don’t renew your lease on the office space. While you’re waiting for your current lease to expire, prepare for becoming a virtual office. Set your employees up for telecommuting, including a phone system that can route calls appropriately and a Virtual Private Network or VPN if appropriate. And for those business meetings, search for business friendly public environments like upscale coffee shops.
Save postage costs by using the Internet to do more of your marketing. Transform your traditional newsletters and flyers into electronic form and e-mail them. Pass on the professional printer for your flyers, letterhead and business cards and design your own instead.
One of the first things most small businesses do when financial woes strike is to let employees go, but this often leads to being understaffed and the business suffers. Consider hiring a virtual assistant for just the amount of time you need per month.
There are more things small businesses can do to survive a slow economy, but there is an added bonus to implementing the ones listed above. When the economy bounces back and business is booming, you’re still saving money. And that means more profits.
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