Who knew? Who saw all of this coming? Not very many and quite a few depending on whom you listen to and what day of the week you hear it!
One thing always remains constant in small business: you need to generate revenue greater than your expenses to remain in business.
Elementary you say? Not quite.
When times tighten --for whatever the reason(s) -- the Classic Truth of Small Business Success comes to the surface: businesses that identify an unmet or underserviced need of a specific reachable target market large enough to sustain revenues over the long haul and who serve that precise market better than their competitors will do well in good times and survive in bad.
Whether the economic climate is tough or not, the small business owner who has identified precisely who they are and what they sell; who their target market is, where they live and how they can be reached cost-effectively; and then markets accordingly improves their chances of survival in almost any economic conditions.
Marketing is the key to not only growth but survival when the economy gets the hiccups or turns sour. Those who have properly prepared can actually improve their business at the same time their competitors are frozen in the headlights.
This particular economic storm -- sparked by bad housing loans, investment-bank collapses and stock market schizophrenia -- means small businesses will need to adjust pricing, marketing strategies and cash flow assumptions. How do these kinds of things actually happen in real businesses on real Main Streets?
*A restaurant might need to drop the $32 steak --This place is expensive!-- and concentrate on building a truly to-die-for hamburger at $8.50. Wow, that burger was the best I have ever eaten! People still want to eat out, but cannot afford the high end items right now. Adjust to the reality of the times!
*Retail businesses might run smaller ads daily in place of one large splashy advertisement once or twice a month. These smaller space ads might feature limited quantities of desired items -NOT stuff you are stuck with! Only ten to sell at this unheard of price. Advertise a different item each day. Limit quantities on wanted items and boost traffic at the same time.
* Speaking of stuff you are stuck with, what a great time to face up to reality and move this junk out! Do NOT try to fool anyone. The market spoke to you long ago and you chose not to listen. Mark it down and get it out of your hair and your inventory. Make someone happy. Turn dogs into cash.
* Do good deeds for your customers. When people are struggling, they never forget even the smallest gesture. When business is flourishing customers may often overlook the nice things you do for them.
Recessions are opportunities to nurture long lasting business relationships. The reverse is also true. Treat a customer badly in tough times and they will drop kick you out of their life the first chance they get.
* Never compromise on the quality of your products or your services. Whatever happens, no matter how hard it is, even if it means not making a profit, deliver a consistent, quality product or experience to your customers every time.
That philosophy will pay dividends in the long run. The last thing anyone remembers about any transaction is the price they paid.
The prepared business has three vital concepts indentified:
1. What is unique and special about their business as compared to their competitors
2. Exactly who their target market is, where and how they live and how to reach them
3. What their own precise positioning statement is and how to convey it to customers, employees and anyone else who is paying attention.
Bob Schumacher giveS entrepreneurs a clear coffee-shop English perspective on how to steer their business or profession into the top 20% who achieve 80% of the business and profits. Visit http://www.RedMeatMarketing.com for a complete directory of his articles and books and a free ad book.