How Small Businesses can Survive Financial Crisis

During a slowdown or recession, most of the management gurus advise people to quit jobs and become entrepreneurs. The thought of becoming an employer instead of an employee is too tempting for everyone out there struggling under the financial crisis. Under this thought, many of us put the foot down and take the plunge. With the dreams of earning loads of bucks we start to write our 'out of the box' business plans. If needed, we present them to the investors and get necessary funding too. All set to rock this world... aren't we?

Everything seems to work according to our plans for first 6-12 months, EXCEPT dollars aren't pouring in, rather its a desert out there. Interest on loans is piling, investors are asking you to return their money and if this isn't bad enough, IMF predicts global slowdown. Dreams Shattered! Hopelessness!

Before you pack your small shop and start searching for a job, I would like to share with you few tips and facts which will not only help your small business survive, but also thrive during a financial crisis. In fact, these tips will also help you understand how and why you are in a better position as compared to big companies as far as facing recession goes.

1) Growth curve is always gentle in formidable years: Any new business usually takes 2-3 years to get off and start earning real profits. I don't think you need to get overwhelmed by this fact and think that you won't be able to get successful in your business. If you quit now, you will lose more than just money, you will lose your dream, your incredible business idea. Be patient and remain motivated. Keep long term goals at the back of the head and FOCUS on your short term achievable goals. Don't expect wonders overnight, but at the same time, don't lose faith in your business.

2) Work on your market offering: Unlike big businesses, you have the liberty to rework your strategy and come-out with something 'out of box' without much hassle. Tweak a bit in your market offering to come up with something which makes costumers long for your goods. Your product should be such that they can't avoid buying even if cutting down their spending is on the top of their list. Discounts and freebies are not the way to go because big companies can easily over-power that advantage from you by their economies of scale. Thus, you should position your product/service in the need-based category rather than want/delight based category, especially in times of slow down.

3) Learn from Big businesses and work on their weakness: Yeah you read it right. Each organisation has weaknesses and in order to beat them, you need to make their weakness your strength. Big businesses often become complacent and stop working on their weaker points. You as a start-up, need to find those areas and offer your customers a product/service which addresses such issues. Gradually, you will start gaining loyal customers and your market share will improve.

4) Value your customers: At any point of time, don't neglect your customer or take him for granted. Always serve them with a smile and don't hesitate to walk that proverbial extra mile for his happiness. Small gestures and words can go a long way in building strong relationships. In marketing, word of mouth publicity plays an important role and as a small business you should never neglect this aspect.

5) Market your business at lowest possible cost: As I said, word of mouth communication is one of the best ways to spread awareness about your business among the local masses. You can take help of Social media as well. Social media is probably the cheapest and the most effective way to market your business now a days. Depending on the industry, you can choose any social network to target influential customers and market your business.

Final words: Even if you feel you have lost everything in your life and have nothing to look forward to, you still have the FUTURE with you and with future come opportunities.

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