The economy is crap, businesses are going under, and relief is no where in sight. We can sit around and whine, blame politicians, blame Corporate America (or some other country of choice), or blame El Niño but what are you going to DO about the recession’s effects on your business? Will your business survive to see brighter days?
I have a slight advantage when it comes to navigating rocky waters. I’m a penny-pincher. When people find out I SHUT OFF MY SATELLITE TV SERVICE 5 years ago, they’re often flabbergasted. (!) They can’t imagine life without network TV. But the truth is, it’s a perk, not a necessity, no matter how much you like to watch American Idol.
1. Eliminate Non-Necessities. This applies to your home life and your business.
- Turn off the landline phone
- go to the library instead of the bookstore
- stop eating out
- stop shopping for pleasure
- turn off the lights when you leave a room
- buy inexpensive, off-brand consumable items when possible (like soap, toilet paper, groceries- anything that ends up in the trash or down the drain at the end of the day)
- look for free entertainment choices when possible
- Save money however you can!
Lessons from Your Grandparents
Another way to thrive during a crap economy is to be flexible. During World War II in America, your parents, grandparents or great grandparents (depending on your age) suffered through food rationing, sky-high taxes, wage and price controls, and an economy verging on disaster- not merely a recession.
How did they survive? They were flexible. Women went to work, which was nearly unheard of back in the day. They learned new skills, they shrugged off stereotypes, and they did what needed to be done to keep their country and their families going.
2. Be flexible. Take an inventory of the skills you have and how they can put to use in your business.
Branch out into new areas. Try a new niche.
Be creative and brainstorm ideas on how to generate revenue and new clients. Know what your client needs and find a way to fulfill that need.
If you don’t have expandable skills, get some. Go back to school. Educate yourself about a new market or niche at your local library. Find a mentor.
While I’m not quite old enough to have experienced life during World War II, I’ve heard life stories from countless patients over the years who remember it well. People had a different mindset back then.
They conserved resources not for the sake of being politically correct, but because it made sense. They saved the tin foil off last night’s roast, and they sent every scrap of aluminum to the government for the war effort. They shut off the water and electric to keep bills down, they ate less, moved more, and spent wisely.
Lesson from the American Government*
(*Did I really just say that?)
Even the government seemed to have more common sense back then. They saw that Americans were saving money to protect their families against the pending economic slaughter, and they came up with the idea of investing in War Bonds- then they promoted the hell outta the idea.It got the economy moving and helped fund the war effort. It boosted morale.
It was smart.
They found a way to turn a bad situation to their favor, and you can, too- with a little ingenuity.
3. Stop sitting on your posterior. If you’re used to customers streaming through your front door, you might find that a different approach is necessary during a rough economy. You might actually have to be a go-getter.
Actively look for new clients.
Invest in the relationships you have with longstanding clients.
Network, mingle, and advertise yourself like you did back when you were new to business.
Pound the pavement, put forth extra effort, try new approaches, make business happen.