Tips For Small Business Owners During the Current Economic Climate by primusboy


									Tips For Small Business Owners During the Current Economic Climate
Small businesses are actually in a unique position to be able to profit
from the current economic climate. While large corporations must take
time to adapt and change, small businesses can adapt on the fly and make
necessary changes that allow them to keep up better with changing
economic conditions.
Another advantage small businesses have is their ability to offer
superior customer service. Most small business owners focus on one niche
or area of expertise. Use that knowledge and expertise to surpass the
needs of your customers in ways your larger competitors cannot. Give
personal service. Know your customers. Greet them by name. Be friendly,
warm and genuinely caring. These are things customers simply do not get
when dealing with chains or large corporations, and they are things that
people always like and appreciate. People will be especially responsive
to these things in these times of economic turmoil when they are making
conscious choices about how and where to spend their money. They want to
know that the person they are spending their money with actually
appreciates their business. Make sure that you show them just how much
you do appreciate them.
Going above and beyond in customer service might also call for doing some
things you haven't done in the past. Is it feasible to actually deliver
your product or service to your customers' homes? With gas prices at all-
time highs, this might be something that would make a customer buy from
you instead of someone else. If you don't have time or staff available to
make deliveries, look into mailing and shipping options. You can actually
schedule pickups through the US Postal Service and have packages picked
up from your business without ever having to leave.
Now is a good time to get creative with your marketing and promotion as
well. While spending a great deal of money on advertising is generally
out of the question for most small business owners, it would be ill-
advised to cease all forms of advertising. If you normally run large
newspaper ads, consider running smaller classified ads more often. You'll
save money but keep your company name and advertising message in front of
your customers more.
Using creative promotional campaigns is actually less expensive than
advertising and often more effective. My small business is currently
having a giveaway for a $25.00 gas card. We did run a few very small
newspaper ads to promote it, but we also did fliers we printed ourselves
and lots of free internet promotion, so it cost very little. The return
on that investment has been extremely good, however. We have gotten lots
of new people into our stores to sign up for the drawing and have even
had many people sign up for online newsletter since they could receive an
extra chance in the drawing by opting into it.
Speaking of internet, small businesses have the option of many free and
extremely low cost promotional options online and should definitely be
exploring them right now. There are business communities which give small
businesses the opportunity to post online profiles and information about
their business. Every business owner should have a profile on communities
like these and always be on the lookout for new ones.
Even though the current economic climate is dismal, there is no reason
that small businesses can't survive and even flourish. As long as you
keep customer service a top priority and continue to be creative and
innovate with advertising and promotion, you will weather the storm and
be able to come out on top while the big dogs are yelping.
Bruce W. Coffman of Coffman Communications

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