Entrepreneurs face challenges on many fronts, including lower consumer spending, rising unemployment and tightening credit.
By acting quickly and decisively to protect their business today, both business owners and managers can make it through the recession with a profitable business.
SCORE CEO Ken Yancey says, "Small businesses feel the credit crunch first. We have seen difficulty accessing capital and collecting payments from customers."
Yancey adds, "Don't wait. Now is the time to meet with a SCORE mentor to make plans to tighten credit policies, cut expenses and look at holding cash in your accounts. Experienced SCORE mentors are here to help you plan actions to survive the recession and grow when the economy turns around."
SCORE offers tips for small business owners on Five Recession Pitfalls to Avoid:
- Cutting expenses too slowly. Don't cut expenses a little bit at a time. Now is the time to look at expenses and decide whether the company needs to cut expenses five, 10 or up to 20 percent. Do what it takes early in the year and bring costs down.
- Maintaining the same product and service mix. Company needs are changing. You can bet clients needs have changed too. Call existing clients and ask them what they need. Then, design a product service mix around those needs.
- Reducing marketing instead of focusing on marketing. The company that stands tall, strong and visible in the marketplace has stature and status. Differentiate with strong marketing to drive leads and sales.
- Lacking systems to free up time. Streamline the business and become more efficient. Use a handheld organizer to keep track of phone numbers, dates, appointments and meetings. Set a time each week to handle routine tasks, bills and paperwork.
- Leaders keeping everything to themselves. The team knows the economy is tough and wants to understand what the company is facing and how, together, everyone can make it through. Lead toward a brighter future by focusing efforts on today.
Since 1964, SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business" has helped more than 8 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through counseling and business workshops.
For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800/634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE on the Web at www.score.org and www.score.org/women.