By guest contributor

Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, it’s important to be prepared for any unexpected downturns.

Staying ahead of the curve, and having a plan in place if the economy dips, is vital in
maintaining your small business in times of hardship. Here are 5 tips on the best way to
foolproof your business so you can survive an economic disaster.


1. Be Aware of Your Cash Flow


A key element of good business practice is knowing your numbers inside out. You
should have a clear idea of your business’s outgoings and incomings. Keeping on top of
where your money is going, and what effect this is having on the business, will enable
you to act astutely in times of economic difficulty.

You’ll be able to assess any slack that can be cut from your outgoings, parts of your
business that can be scaled back, and places where you still have room to invest in order
to generate more business to get you through the difficult period.

The trick is forward planning, no matter how well your business is performing, you
should have a plan in case of a downturn. Being aware of your cash flow enables you to
effectively identify where to cut expenditure, and what spend remains vital to keep
running successfully.


2. Hire Expert Advice from Outside Sources


An outside eye can often be very helpful in identifying ways of protecting your business.
Sometimes you can be too close to your business and may not see the bigger picture, or
what steps would be useful in protecting it from external forces.

Hiring professionals to advise on your options is a clever way of foreseeing issues and
dealing with them when they arise. Howlader & Co. is a chartered accountants firm that
can tailor their financial advice to your individual business. Having this outside advice
can help you find ways of saving money and put plans in place for your business to be
more robust in times of economic difficulty.

Employ those experts to help with any blind spots you may have. What you may be
unable to see due to your proximity may be obvious to an outside eye. They’ll be able to
advise where to spend less, how to save, and how to maximise profit, keeping your
business as healthy as possible.


3. Be Adaptable


As a small business, it’s often easier to make changes to your product and marketing as
a reaction to external changes in the marketplace. In times of economic disaster, ask
yourself, can you adapt your offering to suit or somehow help with the new environment
you find yourself in? Perhaps this could be changing the way it is accessed, for example
taking a live event and using technology platforms to move the event online.

Embrace the change. Showing your clients that you can respond to their needs quickly
and effectively will give them faith in your resilience and showcase the benefits you
provide. In hard times, if you show you are made of tougher stuff and ​find ways to be innovative, this will win respect and stand you in good stead. Embrace the opportunity to
learn and grow during difficult times.

Open for Business

Similarly, if possible, add more strings to your bow. Consider how you can push your
business. Examine what your complete package is to your customer. Build loyal clients
who appreciate your high offering and will stick with you in hard times because of what
you add to their lives.


4. Learn from Previous Hard Times


Setting up a small business is no small feat. In doing this, you will already have
encountered difficulties along the way. Use these past experiences to inform how you
deal with uncertainty in the future.

Ask yourself how you handled previous difficulties, what steps did you take, who did you
turn to and what were the actions that helped get you out of it? For example, when
starting out, how did you gain customers? Don’t neglect those skills. If you go back to
basics, these core skills will help in times of economic difficulty.

Think back to that start-up mentality - how did you previously communicate what you do
and why you’re necessary? Implement that same strategy, tailoring your communication
to be sensitive to current times, but not forgetting what lies at the heart of your business,
and the need that you are fulfilling in the market.


5. Plan for After the Economic Disaster


Remember, as bad as it seems, periods of economic disaster do not last forever. Look
ahead at how you’ll be able to move forward and what direction you’ll take when the
economy bounces back.

Don’t be short-sighted. Although you need to work hard and be clever in order to survive,
remember that this is also a chance to get creative and rethink strategies, marketing and
offerings for the future brighter economic upturn that is bound to come after the
downturn. Use this time for learning and creatively strategizing for your business’s next
steps.

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