If you were to look hard at the global economy, you would be presented with a far from ideal landscape. With unemployment rates reaching upwards of 29% in countries such as Greece and the global manufacturing industry experiencing a significant downturn, both advanced and emerging economies are now struggling to sustain their growth.
Despite small businesses and start-up ventures being promoted as key factors in driving economic growth, however, the fact remains that more than 200,000 independent firms have failed in the U.S. alone since 2008. While this does not necessarily disprove the prevailing theory, however, it means that small business owners must strive hard to find innovative and sustainable ways to evolve both themselves and the wider economy.
Surviving as a Small Firm in 2012: 3 Steps for Success
So how can innovative and creative thinking translate into practical survival advice for small business owners? Consider the following:
- The Cloud as an Accessible Money Saving Tool: When outsourcing first emerged as a viable business tool, it was restricted primarily to the world of IT. Over time, however, it evolved into a far more widespread practice encompassing sales, marketing and even basic administration tasks. With cloud technology now existing as a free and accessible software option that allows small businesses to employ an entirely flexible, motivated and cost-effective work force, there is an even greater opportunity to save money and protect your long term business interests. Cloud technology is particularly useful when assembling a team for non-strategic business tasks such as administration and manufacturing.
- Minimize Operational Costs Rather than Eliminating Marketing: When a small business is faced with recession, its first port of call is often to cut non-operational functions from the budget. This is a short sighted approach, however, as by eliminating tasks such as marketing and brand promotion from your budget it is impossible to evolve and take on new work. The key is to instead minimize operational costs where possible, and by focusing on reducing energy bills and the annual burden of office land line and mobile contracts you can continue to trade and solicit new business simultaneously. In a competitive economy where most businesses are looking to consolidate, this philosophy can give you a pivotal market edge.
- Retaining Staff and Clients Effectively: Regardless of whether you employ 1 or 30 members of staff, it is important to retain your top talent if you are to survive. The same applies to clients, as consistent and repeat business is one of the cornerstones of long term commercial success. It is not simply enough to offer financial incentives in the modern age, as individuals have a far greater appreciation of the world and their role within it. Instead, focus on improving your reliability as an employer and service provider, and prioritize outstanding communication as your key weapon as a small but ambitious business. By empowering your staff as part of a thriving brand or mobile marketing campaign, for example, you are affording them status and a greater sense of importance within the business.
The Bottom Line for Small Business Survival
These steps can help your business to consolidate during a period of prolonged recession, while also laying the foundation for long term growth. With the world economy expected to be significant decline for up to 5 years, it is critical that small, independent business owners act now to strengthen their venture and embrace a more prosperous future. Without this level of ambition or positive outlook, the economic malaise is likely to continue for longer and could even undermine your own firms chances of success in the coming decade.
This article was contributed by Laura on behalf of Rockhill First Class Envelopes, who remain committed to slashing commercial operational costs for businesses throughout the UK.