When the economy hurts, consumers hurt. When consumers hurt, businesses start to feel the squeeze pretty quickly, some industries more so than others. If your business is feeling the squeeze, it’s time to take action. Even during the Great Depression, some businesses continued to thrive. The innovators and those willing to adapt are the ones that will make it through these tough times.
Here are a few tips for the business owner that feels like the doors are starting to close on the financial hurt locker.
Whatever you do, don’t stop advertising. The tighter consumers get, the more competition there is going to be for consumer dollars. If you’ve already been advertising and it doesn’t seem to be helping, start looking into alternative marketing methods.
The yellow pages have been the traditional place to to tell locals about local business. But surveys show that every year, fewer and fewer people use this traditional source, giving it up in favor of internet search engines. With more eyes looking to the internet to find exactly what it is that you offer, you should be making sure you can be found where the eyes are looking!
Get a website, get listed in online directories and Google and Yahoo! local results, and consider using pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
Old standbys such as flyers, coupons, newspapers and so forth are still viable alternatives, although their effectiveness wanes each day as the internet takes hold of society.
Get a Loan
Don’t have the money to advertise? Outdated equipment causing you to fall behind the competition? Consider getting a loan. A lot of banks are tightening their belts and making it tougher to qualify for business loans. But there is still money out there to be had. If you own a fast food joint for example, and your clamshell grills are on their last leg, there are specialized franchise loans that can help you get up out of your rut and provide you with the financing you need to keep the burgers cooking and the doors open.
Adapt, Innovate, and Live — Or Don’t and Die
During the Great Depression, savvy business owners started serving salted peanuts to patrons for free. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? On the contrary, the salty peanuts made patrons more thirsty, causing them to purchase more of a restaurant’s highest-margin menu items… drinks.
Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean some grand epiphany that will change your industry forever. Like multi-millionaire entrepreneur Felix Dennis suggested, forget about how great the idea is and focus on a great execution of that idea.
Changing the way you do things, departing from what has always worked before, may feel like a great risk. But for the entrepreneur, risk equals reward.
Remember when you first got in to business? How exciting it was and how willing you were to try new things? Bring that excitement back. Try new things. Adapt and live, or stay in your cave and die. History is full of entrepreneurs who endured through the toughest of times. Now it’s time for you to carve out your place in entrepreneurial history!