Surviving the Recession and Planning for a Rebound; How Small Businesses are Doing It!
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: October 22, 2009, 7:56 am
Note: The ARRA (Recovery Act) initiatives and/or programs referenced in this article will expire on September 30, 2010. Any statements about qualifying time periods, or extensions of these dates, as they pertain to the availability of ARRA programs are over-ridden by the expiration of the Act on September 30, 2010.
No doubt about it, the current economic recession has hurt small businesses as well as the people they employ.
But despite the reduction in consumer spending, dried up credit, ongoing debt and continued uncertainty about the timing of a bounce back - small business survival stories are appearing in the media and bringing with them hope and optimism.
The New York Times has been tracking five small businesses over the past year and reporting on the highs and lows of coping with the recession. In the latest update - *Small-Business Owners Are Coping, and Feeling Grateful for the Bright Spots - the Times finds small business owners are struggling but coping - hanging on for an uptick. And a few report a flicker of optimism as they deliberately and unexpectedly find and capitalize on new markets for old products.
New and more efficient business models are emerging - a direct result of challenging economic times.
From customer service to marketing; from creative uses of technology to tighter financial controls - small businesses are fighting back with a toolbox of resources that challenges conventional business models, introduces greater efficiencies, and opens doors to new opportunities.
Here are just some insights and tips (drawn from across the Business.gov Community of experts and small business owners) of how small business is doing it:
Make Marketing Work for Your Small Business in a Recession
In this article - 7 Marketing Tactics That Work in a Recession - small business expert Rieva Lesonsky observes that 'two-thirds of respondents to a recent survey by online marketing company Performics say the recession;has fundamentally changed the way they think about saving and spending money''. So how do you market your products and services in this type of climate? Read Rieva's article for seven tips that can help small businesses capture precious consumer dollars now.
Nurture Existing Customers While Seeking New Market Opportunities
Many small business owners often retreat from new marketing initiatives during tough times - choosing to manage as many costs within their control as they can, at least for the short term. But halting your marketing efforts during an economic recession only affords your competition the opportunity to pull ahead and make inroads into your current and potential markets.
This article - Customer Retention and Acquisition: Tips for Recessionary Times - highlights two simple, yet effective, strategies you can employ now to retain the loyalty of your customers as well as seek out new opportunities in new markets with market planning tools (freely available from the government).
One significant market opportunity for many small businesses continues to be the U.S. government. As the largest purchaser of products and services in the world, the U.S. government continues to be a growth sector, and it's not all about technology and defense systems. The following articles provide guidance and tips on how small business can learn more about the wealth of opportunities for small business in federal, state and local government contracting and sub-contracting:
- Doing Business with the Federal Government: Tips for Securing Your Share During Changing Times
- Selling to the Government: Five Tips for Becoming a Subcontractor and Getting Your Foot in the Door
- Successful Government Marketing - A Primer for Small Business
- Doing Business with the Department of Defense (DoD) - A Small Business Checklist
- *Finding Work in Your Own Back Yard: Doing Business with State and Local Government
Using Technology to Take Advantage of the Economic Recovery
When the recovery happens, you want to be ready to jump on opportunities. If the recession's been tough on your business, consider the recovery a time for a reboot. With that in mind, small business expert Anita Campbell recommends three tools - including CRM, email marketing software, and Website analytics - that can help your small business sell more and do so profitably, as the recovery takes hold. Read more here: 3 Technologies to Help You Take Advantage of the Economic Recovery.
Leverage Financial Lifelines
Under the provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the government has been sending out lifelines to small business struggling to manage business debt.
These initiatives, administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) - including the ARC Loan Program and modifications to the SBA 504 Loan Program - are genuine options that small business owners struggling with debt should be aware of. Read more here: Managing Small Business Debt - Government Loans and Refinancing Lifelines.
For more comprehensive information on these programs refer to the SBA's Recovery Act Portal.
How is your small business surviving the recession? Share your experiences and insights with other small businesses in Business.gov's Idea Exchange: What is one effective tactic you've taken in response to the recession?
Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.
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General small business tips and tricks.