Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A SMB Life Preserver in an Economic Storm

The rebound of recovery efforts in today's economy is crawling like a 35g download on a dial up connection. It seems politicians are playing tug o war and in the meantime small business owners are struggling to keep things balanced and seeking new ways to sell to a penny pinching market. Some business owners may even feel that they have no other choice but to hold on and wait out the storm. Although it can be discouraging, you are not stuck in a ditch spinning your tires, you can be proactive in building the kind of life preserver that will help keep your small business afloat.

1. Communication
– Keeping tabs on how everyone is doing from your partners, your venders and others on your team is vital. Also, return information to them as to where the company stands and problems that need to be addressed. Get everyone involved in trouble shooting and the anticipation of hot spots or potential problem areas.

- Resolve conflicts within the company through mediation and compromise.

- Survey areas that can be improved and what is needed to do so as well as simplify areas that are bogged down and non productive. The survival of the company is in everyone's best interest and feedback from others can help clean up areas and prevent other problems.

2. Organization
- Put the mission statement and rules and regulations in writing so your team has a map of where they are going. Positions within the company should also have a written description of duties and responsibilities.

- Make sure that technology is working for you. Is it a good work-flow or is it creating traffic jams within the office or when you travel. For example: it might be helpful  to rent technology to cover a big business trip rather than to drag everything with you through customs in the airport. It takes time to check everything in, time to set up and make sure everything is working correctly, and time to tear down and check it all in for the trip back and time is money!

3. Accountability
- Meet complaints head on and compensate for inconvenience. Accidents happen and going out of the way to make things right builds on the integrity of your business and that is going to keep people coming back and recommend your company to others.

4.The Internet
- Social networks and blogging are vital to any company to make connections and to keep your business in the limelight. Writing blogs is a good way to offer information about products and service and link back to your website. Take the time to get to know Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, they are the super highway to advertising and networking. Some companies have departments dedicated to just this alone!

- Don't let your website go stale. Keep adding new information, and keep contact information updated. It is, after all, your company's virtual business card.

5. Pricing
- While price increases across the board might not make a whole lot of sense, it is important to have a good blueprint of finances. Strategically placing small increases can give your company a competitive edge but it takes research and planning.

I hope these tips have offered you some inspiration into a plan to help your company not only stay afloat but to flourish under the pressure!

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