Top 10 Small Business Tips During a Recession

Whether you believe we’re in a recession or not, the economy is on shaky ground right now. And if things continue to spiral downward, is your business ready to weather a recession?

Here are 10 tips on dealing with a recession for your business:

1) Cut costs cautiously. As soon as the economy starts slowing down, many business owners think they must cut costs. But this is a short-term solution. Only cut costs or decrease your prices if it won’t harm your business later. You can always lower your price – but you can’t always raise your price.

2) Think Sub- contractors – especially if health care costs are putting a strain on your budget. If you have employees, consider turning them into sub-contractors. There are very affordable, month-to-month video web conferencing services that allow you to still be in close daily contact.

3) Advertise, Advertise, & Advertise! During the last recession, McDonald’s almost tripled their advertising campaign at a time when their competitors, namely Burger King, were cutting back. So even though this may seem counter-intuitive, a recession may be the time to increase your marketing. Hard economic times weeds out your competition, leaving the field wide open for you.

4) Plan Long term: The Japanese are famous for planning out their strategy 15 to 20 years in advance. They follow the way of the turtle to win the race. And it works! Remember, marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep marketing every month, month in and month out, not stopping and starting on a whim.

5)Choose your marketing techniques wisely. You should be keeping track of which marketing venues brings you the most business. Reduce or eliminate those marketing techniques that aren’t paying off for you, or fix them so that they do increase leads and sales. And consider a form of direct marketing where you can specifically test target markets without blowing your hard earned budget.

6) Revamp your marketing tools. For those marketing techniques that are working for you, this might be the time to revamp your marketing tools. Could your sales people use more training to close the deal? Online training cuts costs and time.

7) Automate wherever you can. Find ways to automate any tasks to reduce the workload on yourself and your staff. What have you been doing manually that a computer system can do for you? Take a look at all your daily tasks and see if there is a computer solution to these time-wasters.

8) Spend your time on what really matters. Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s a proven fact that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. So treat your best customers like royalty. Spend 80% of your time focusing on marketing and delivering your product or service.

9) Make do and mend. Because raw materials were in short supply during World War II, people were encouraged to “make do and mend” an item instead of simply replacing it. Consider your own expenditures: do you really need a new computer, or could you somehow upgrade your existing one for less money? Do you need a new telephone or can you get by with the old one for a while longer?

10) Reduce inventories. If you sell a product, and you believe your sales are going to decrease, this might be a good idea to reduce inventories and not restock to the same level. This is a risky strategy (what if the recession only lasts 6 months?), so be sure you know exactly how long it will take to replenish inventories once the economy picks back up.

Now is the time to have a plan for dealing with a recession. It doesn’t matter if we are in a recession now or not. These 10 tips will prepare your business for both good times and not so good times.

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Top 10 Marketing Books for Small Business Owners

Unlike big business owners, small business owners have the burden of taking care of every single aspect of their business – recruitment, marketing, finance, accounts, managing employees to managing vendors, and so forth. But here we focused only on books that can help you gain marketing knowledge and skills. Here are the top 10 books on marketing which we believe are helpful for new as well as established small business owners.

Book # 1: The New Rules of Marketing & PR – David Meerman Scott

In the new marketing scenario, the methods such as ad copy, etc. do not bring results for your business. With the popularity of smartphones and other devices and proliferation of the Internet, new methods, rules, etc. of marketing have evolved. This book discusses the importance and benefits of using such techniques.

David M Scott provides fresh examples of success from various industries and businesses across the world. He highlights the new tools and techniques that marketers should use to communicate with their buyers directly – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. In short, this book is a guide that offers actionable strategies and insider tips that can be implemented immediately.

Book # 2: Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking – Andy Sernovitz

This book by Andy Sernovitz emphasizes the use of word of mouth marketing for businesses. The book elaborates purpose of blogs, social media, viral emails, etc. – when to use them and how to make them work.

Word of mouth is an effective tool to share information quickly and easily to promote businesses. It is an effective tool that can promote your business via your customers, friends and relations.

Book # 3: Guerrilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business – Jay Conrad Levinson

This book furnishes strategies for Internet marketing, tips on using technology like pod-casting and automated marketing, programs for targeting prospects, cultivating repeat, referral business, management lessons in the age of telecommuting and freelance employees, etc. – exclusively for small businesses.

Book # 4: Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide – John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a well-known expert in small business marketing. In the book, he discusses all the proven tools and tactics together in a step-by-step marketing system. This road map helps small business owners in knowing what they need to do to market their businesses.

Book # 5: Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business – David Siteman Garland

This book provides strategies for building, marketing and promoting businesses. These techniques are smarter, faster, cheaper and therefore save your time and money. The book is equally helpful for start-ups as well as those who are already in the market for sometime.

Book # 6: Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed: Leverage Resources, Establish Online Credibility and Crush Your Competition – Patrick Schwerdtfeger

This book provides effective practical strategies and tactics – a complete tool kit to use resources sensibly, to establish online credibility. If you apply these strategies, you can get good results for your business within a brief span of time.

Book # 7: Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide – James Stephenson

This book is an essential guide for every business owner. James Stephenson presents in this book 1500 great marketing ideas that are sure to boost your sales revenue, profits and customer loyalty and also to help you stay ahead of your competitors.

Book # 8: Web Marketing for Small Businesses: 7 Steps to Explosive Business Growth – Stephanie Diamond

Marketing for small businesses was difficult in the past. But today, it is not the case. Web marketing enables small businesses to take advantage of marketing opportunities and win new customers.

The book ‘Web Marketing for Small Businesses: 7 Steps to Explosive Business Growth’ focuses on different ways of marketing with a detailed strategy to put them into action. The main content of the book comprises checklists – niche, brand, story, search, content, social media tactics, traditional tactics and results. This book helps you implement web marketing strategies.

Book # 9: Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook – Dave Kerpen

This book is a key to unlock the door to new opportunities. It tells you about how to build brand awareness by engaging customers in social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and other social media networking sites.

Book # 10: 500 Social Media Marketing Tips: Essential Advice, Hints and Strategy for Business: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and More! – Andrew Macarthy

This book is a guide to small businesses. It provides 500 social media marketing tips covering all the web’s biggest players like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube and others. These tips will help you build brand awareness in social media networks, attract and engage your customers and ultimately help you increase sales.

Are You Ready to Ride the Waves of Change?

Emerging Prepared with a Plan in a Post Pandemic Economy

It’s April 2020 and as I wake up and start my day, there is always the nagging questions lingering in my head. What the heck will my business look like in three month or even six months from now? Will I still have a business to run or will the way in which I earn a living cease to exist and will I end up doing something entirely different?

It’s hard to know what state my business will be in one month from now, let alone three months later. Unfortunately, I don’t have a crystal ball that will predict the future for me or anyone else I know for that matter.

One thing I do know for sure is that things will never be the way they were four months ago. If you’re one of those people waiting for the ‘old economy’ to return or bounce back, then you’re in for a rude awakening, because it’s not going to happen.

I’m guessing that most people don’t want to entertain the idea that they could be out of business in a matter of months. Heck, it’s not something that I wanted to think about either. To be put out of business because of an invisible predator that has spanned the globe and disrupted peoples’ lives and the global economy, just seems unfathomable.

As my husband and I watched what was going on within our own country and around the world and the impact it had on our businesses, we did a financial assessment of how long we could sustain our current standard of living. For some reason I felt okay knowing that we could get to a certain period within the year. It never occurred to me that I wasn’t allowing myself to think about what would happen if we did run out of savings.

My husband on the other hand had thought about it. Hearing him verbalize his ‘before we get to that point’ plan of action forced me to finally go to that place in my mind where I needed to have the internal conversation, ‘what would happen if I could no longer maintain my business?’

The AHA Moment

When I did finally ‘go there’, I had a major AHA moment. Suddenly I realized something that had never occurred to me before. The voice in my head said, “Pam, you’ve been here before!”

Oh my God, yes, that’s right-I have been here before. I have had to unexpectedly close a business due to circumstances beyond my control-an economic crisis.

It was 18 years ago. I had a women’s fashion retail store in a major mall in Singapore. The store was in operation for a good part of 3 years, and just one year at the mall premises. Business was good. That is until we got hit by the Asian Financial crisis of ’99.

My clientele tended to be expat women along with residents and tourists. As we moved through the year 2000, we witnessed the decline in the daily number of shoppers. People began to hang onto their moneydue to the uncertainties that lay ahead. Much like what we are experiencing today.

Eventually it reached a point where there wasn’t enough business to cover the monthly overheads and the tough decision was made to close the store. Yet it wasn’t as simple as just closing the doors. While the landlords could see for themselves that there was no foot traffic for all tenants, they still demanded to receive payment for the remaining months on the lease. Thatresulted in a painfully written $40,000 cheque to the landlord. Making that payment just added insult to what was already a very difficult moment of having to close due to an economic crisis.

When the premises were vacant and the doors shuttered, I allowed myself to have a private pity party. I gave myself permission to feel sorry for myself for two weeks. When the pity party was over, I knew it was time to get up off the ground and get busy contemplating what the next plan of action would be.

Even through my despair, I was confident that there would be another business in my future and I would need to be prepared and ready to pivot.

Remembering that I’ve been here before and knowing that I had the resilience to bounce back and come out the other side,reassures me that I can do this again ifnecessary.

Every company or business owner will need to figure out what is best for them post pandemic. Maybe you haven’t even begun to think this far ahead. Maybe you have, yet still have no idea of what you’ll do when we all resurface in this new c-economy (covid-economy).

Instead of waiting for circumstances to dictate what will happen in one to three months from now, I view myself as a surfer who needs to be out there in the blue ocean, judging, calculating, waiting for just the right wave to jump onto and ride through the barrel all the way to the beach.

This time I’ll be ready to ride on top of the wave instead of finding myself being tossed around in the surf and not knowing which way is up.

Preparing for the C-economy

No one will be able to say for certain when countries, states and communities will be open their doors for business, yet it’s important to be ready with a plan of action.

Here are just a few of thoughts for a business owners and business leaders to consider right now in preparation for the resurrection of their business.

Establish product-service relevancy

There are a few vital questions to address before you begin to create the recovery road map.

Is my product or service still relevant to my target market today and will it be relevant post pandemic? Will the target audience remain the same or will it change all together?

If my target audience remains the same albeit with minor changes, then I will move forward with my recovery roadmap.

Anticipate, ask &answer

Read the latest research findings in your industry, along with reports from economists. As business operators we need to research the market and anticipate the wants and needs of the consumer in order to provide appropriate solutions.

Creating ideal solutions for consumers cannot happen while brainstorming in isolation. Ask your clients what they will need in a post pandemic business environment.

Armed with research and the needs of the target market, answer their requests and deliver your best solution that addresses those immediate needs. This may require the development of a whole new product or service.

Double down on the low cost, no cost marketing activities

The global health and economic crisis has left millions of businesses without incoming revenue for months, so the last thing most would want to do is fork out a large sums of cash for marketing campaigns.

However, that doesn’t mean that a business should go underground and not market at all. On the contrary. There are things that any business can do to continue marketing their products and services using low cost or no cost marketing activities.

  • Create content. No one knows your business better than you (and your employees if you work for a large organization). Start by creating content that educates and helps your target audience. Your content can be distributed in so many ways.
  • Write blog posts and upload it to your website, social media pages and syndicated sites.
  • Conduct a survey related to your industry and then distribute your findings that to your target audience if it will help their business.
  • Use free creative sites like Canva to create visual content such as banners, posters, social posts, animated posts, etc.
  • Use the free tools to create infographics that educate.
  • Create short videos that educate, motivate or demonstrate a product. Everyone has a camera on their smartphone so pick it up and hit the record button. There is no excuse not to.

Seek synergistic collaboration

One of the upsides to all the chaos we’re all going through is the change we are seeing in humanity. The giving economy is on the rise and rightfully so. You are of greater value to your clients when you offer them more of what they need.

Seek collaboration with business partners who can add value to your client base.What can others bring to the table that is beneficial to your clientele that is not in direct competition with you, yet creates synergy for both of your businesses?

Reaching out to other corporates and business owners will stimulate the economy and creates a three-way win.

Learn and Go Digital

The way business is conducted today has already changed. Operating efficiently in the new c-economy, will require the use of more technology and apps for conducting business remotely with clients and team members.

Businesses that once offered their services in person, must adapt to digital platformsin the new normal. This form of communication once thought to be a ‘nice to try’ has moved into the realm of a legitimate way of doing business.

Not only will the need arise to learn new technologies for virtual engagement, the need to know how to protect our privacy will require us to spend some time understanding cyber security as well.

There will be a learning curve, yet failure to dive in and embrace the new wave of technology that has now become part of our everyday lives, will mean that those who are unwilling to learn will be left behind.

Repurpose to Create Additional Revenue Streams

As a veteran small business owner, I’m a big advocate of having multiple streams of revenue. Each time I develop a new brand, I map out the various ways I can sell my services at different price points and through different distribution channels.

Having more than one revenue stream is something that I push small business owners to do initiate when crafting their business model from the get-go.

View your business with fresh eyes. At the onset of your business, the product or service you offer may have been created for a specific target audience. Can what you offer now be re-purposed for another audience or niche market?

Case in point. I have a deck of cards on entrepreneurship that was derived from the chapter action steps frommy book, The 50-60 Something ™ Start-up Entrepreneur. The deck of cards was a spin off from the book and became another form of re-purposing information and additional revenue stream.

Given that the information on how to create a business is the same, I can now re-purpose the deck of cards with a new brand name, new design and sell this to a completely different market.

Is there a portion of your business that can be splintered off to create a new product in another industry? What could potentially be re-purposed or even upgraded within your own business to create a new stream of revenue?With a little brainstorming, you just might surprise yourself with what you come up with.

Riding the Wave

A big wave of change is on the horizon for all of us. It’s going to come in the form of a recession or possibly a depression. I’m preparing myself now. I want to be ready when the wave of opportunity surges toward me. I hope others will join me out there in this blue ocean and we can ride this wave together.

Small Business Loans With A Poor Credit Score

Many small business owners struggle with obtaining business finance, and there is absolutely nothing unusual about this. Getting a business loan for small businesses, such as retailers, restaurants, garages and so on, is not as simple as one would think from the bank.

This is not to say however, that getting a business loan is not possible. It all depends on where one goes looking for the loan. Typically, there are two primary options that business owners have, approaching their local banks and going to a private funder or lender.

Banks and small business loans

Banks look at applications for small business loans from their perspective and their perspective is determined by their criteria. When we speak of criteria, there are numerous criteria and these are all non-flexible as well as stringent.

Typically, banks require high credit scores, which should be around about 700 or over. If a business applying for a loan with the bank lacks excellent credit, their application will be rejected simply based on that one criteria. In conclusion to banks and credit scores, business funding with bad credit with a bank is not a possibility.

This is not to say that there are not a number of other criteria, which banks follow carefully and take equally seriously as well. The criteria of banks have been established over the decades based on shared experience, and these criteria are across the board.

As is generally acknowledged, banks are not very keen on funding small business loans. The reasons for this are many and one of the primary reasons is that, small businesses are considered to be high risk investments from the banks perspective and experience.

Private funders and small business loans

With a private lender the situation is completely different from what a business owner will experience with a bank. Private lenders have a completely different list of criteria to provide cash advance for business owners.

As private lenders primarily offer MCA (Merchant Cash Advances), the criteria for these is simple. An MCA loan is an unsecured loan, and does not require high credit scores either. As a result it’s easy to qualify for this kind of funding.

However, many a small business owners don’t look upon MCAs from a friendly perspective, and they do have their reasons. The interest rates are higher than traditional bank loans, and most business owners want low interest rates.

The point with MCAs is however not to compete with bank financing, as they are both in quite different arenas. Apart from the fact that they are both financing for businesses, the entire process, requirements, features and all other details related to the funding are completely different.

With an MCA loan the question how to qualify for small business loans does not really apply. Only in very few cases are small businesses turned away by private lenders. Generally, most businesses receive the funding they require for their business.

MCA loans V/S bank loans

Merchant cash advances or MCA in short are generally accompanied with high interest rates. Far higher than what the bank provides, and the reason for this is these are unsecured short term loans.

There are many businesses who would never qualify for a traditional bank loan, regardless of how badly they need it or want it. If their credit scores are low, or if they are unable to provide the collateral the banks require their applications will be rejected. This is not to say that there are not a lot of other grounds on which small business loan applications are not declined by banks. Also, banks are under not obligation to provide funding to those they choose not to. This leaves many small business with no other option.

For an MCA loan a business requires nothing much in the way of credit scores and collateral. The basic criteria for an MCA loan is mentioned here, as follows. The business should be at least 12 months old and a running business. The owner of the business should not be in active bankruptcy at the time of the loan application. Finally, the gross income of the business needs to be at least $10 thousand a month.

The easy criteria makes it simple to obtain an MCA, and the drawbacks are definitely the interest rates and the duration for some business owners. However, those who capitalize on such business funding are those business who either have no choice, or those who require quick business loans. Some of the advantages are the processing time frames, which can be as little as a couple of days.

Get Loan for New Business Summary: Understanding Your Options and the Terms and Requirements

It’s no secret that business funding doesn’t come easily. Business loans involve a lot of risk for the lender, which results in stricter eligibility requirements. Even though it’s a challenge, it’s not impossible to get loan for new business endeavors.

It helps to understand the different types of loan options available. There is the small business line of credit, which usually has a cap on the amount of funds you can access, although it is useful for managing a company’s cash flow as well as unexpected expenses. There might be a fee for setting up this line of credit, but there usually isn’t a charge of interest until you actually withdraw money from the funds.

There is also the working capital loan, which is essentially a debt borrowing vehicle used by the business to finance its day-to-day operations. Some of these types of loans are unsecured, but newer companies that have little to no credit history will have to put up something for collateral.

If the primary reason you need to get loan for new business is for equipment, you might be interested in an equipment loan. Keep in mind that you will still likely e required to make a down payment – usually around 20% of the purchase price. The equipment itself is the security in this type of loan, so if you are unable to pay it all back, you’ll lose the equipment. The principal is typically amortized over 2- 4 year periods.

Get Loan for New Business For Specific Purposes

Small business term loans are those that are usually set for a dollar amount and are used for a variety of things, such as capital expenditures, business operations, expansion, etc. The interest must be paid monthly and the principal should be repaid anywhere from 6 months to three years. This type of loan can be unsecured or secured, and the interest can be fixed or varied. This is a good option for small businesses that need capital for either growth or onetime, large expenditures.

There are small business credit cards available if your credit score is good enough. Interest rates vary depending on your credit score, the lender, amount on the card, and so forth. Many of the insurers require that the principal owner be co-liable with the business. On some cards, there are cash back and rewards programs.

Additional options include:

• SBA-Backed loans

• Angel investors

• Crowd funding (peer-to-peer funding)

• Direct online lenders

• Accounts receivable funding

It’s wise to do research on all of your options on how to get loan for new business. The best place to start is with US Business Funding. This site will help you get approved with flexible payment and term options. US Business Funding has a lot of positive feedback and has been featured in Forbes, CNN Money, Inc 500, and other prestigious publications.