When you start a small business, you should be prepared to fall on tough times. It is simply unavoidable. Stick around long enough and things are going to go pear-shaped. This is less a prophecy and more a reading of yesterday’s newspaper. It’s not just you. It happens to everyone who ever ran a business.
That leads to the good news. Since it does happen to everyone, it is obviously very survivable. It is just a matter of having the right tools in your toolkit for such an eventuality.
Just because things are clipping along apace right now does not mean you are ready for hard times. It is easy to run a business when everything is going well. Anyone could do it. What separates the 10-year old businesses from the ones that fail before their fifth anniversary is the ability to stay afloat when the ship is taking on water.
To ensure your long-term success beyond the downturn, be sure you have the following:
A Good Source of Affordable Supplies
In the downturn, you still need staples, paper, ink, coffee mugs, pens, and all the things that are vital to a business that are too small to be line items on a business plan.
Companies like Coastal Business Supplies serve small businesses in a big way by being a reliable source for the things that small business owners seldom think about until they need them.
Once you are big enough to have an office manager, you will not have to worry about running out of supplies at critical times. But when you are doing it all yourself, you need a reliable and affordable supply company on speed dial.
Having the right paper in the printer can mean the difference between closing a big contract right now and not closing it at all. Make sure you always have a good supply of the little things your business can live without.
In the midst of hard times, you might have to cancel that ad you were planning for the World Cup. That doesn’t mean you have to cancel all of your ad dollars. In fact, that is one of the worst things you can do.
Big businesses tend to invest their way out of hard times. That is where a good digital marketing campaign comes in handy. When cash flow is low, you need to bring in customers.
SEO content marketing, local SEO campaigns, and social media campaigns are all good strategies during the downturn.
Too many people jump into their own business as an alternative to going to school and doing the proper preparation. While it is true that you can run a small business without a formal education under the right circumstances, the people who make it through the tough times are those with the educational background to sustain the tough decision-making they have to do.
You will have to make your own decision about whether a business degree is worth it. That is because opinions are split among experts. But there is no argument about whether some degree of formal education is worth it.
You wouldn’t want to try to wire a house without at least a few courses on electrical engineering. You would fly a plane without some type of certification. And you should expect to get your business out of a downturn without any kind of business education.
An Emergency Source of Financing
If the downturn lasts long enough, the money will run out. There is no getting around that essential fact. You have to be ready for that moment by having a source of capital standing by.
The mistake is waiting till you need it before you try to get it. You want to qualify now for the loan you will need later. When you get your initial round of funding, make sure a portion of that is held back for a rainy day. The downturn should never come as a surprise. It should always be a part of the plan from the beginning.
Staying afloat when the waters get choppy require a good source of affordable supplies, a sustainable marketing strategy, the education necessary to know what to do, and an emergency source of financing. With these things in place, roadblocks become little more than minor speed bumps.