It can be difficult to grow a business anytime but properly managed small businesses can thrive in even poor economies. Here are steps to consider when facing challenging markets:
1. Manage costs: To stay ahead of the curve businesses have to cut costs with the precision of a surgeon. Cut too little and the company’s survival may not be assured; cut too much and the business may jeopardize the quality service offered to customers.
2. Broaden the customer base: The business is at risk if too much dependence is placed on a few customers who could develop financial difficulties. Spread the risk and reliance by having as large a base of stable customers as possible. At the same time give important customers special attention, nurture relationships that will build loyalty.
3. Refine Marketing: Refine key selling points and use new internet based marketing to attract a new generation of customers. Take full advantage of free social networking; Twitter and Facebook may offer new free ways to advertise. Combine this with other direct marketing approached to reach customers.
4. Manage assets and profits: Many businesses focus on sales, expenses, and margins and often ignore assets, particularly cash flow. Profits and hence net worth can be increased through cash flow management. Prudent management of needs with both short and long term sourcing of funds with a plan developed in conjunction with a banker can be a strong tactic to ensure growth.
5. Maintain flexibility: Businesses must stay alert and respond quickly to market changes. Pay attention to market feedback and analyse facts. Adapt new systems and use current technologies to facilitate response.
Finding the optimum balance between sales and expenditure will guarantee growth in austere times and enable business to thrive when the market improves.