The Small Business Hard Times Survival Guide

The Small Business Hard Times Survival Guide

Life Swift
Published on September 21, 2023
The Small Business Hard Times Survival Guide

There are many events like the economic downturn, industry shakeout, recession, or dishonest partnership that can put your business to the test. Surviving in a hard time is very difficult. It will need the steely determination and the never-quit attitude. But in today’s marketplace of small businesses, only having a winner’s attitude is not enough.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And for small business owners, things can’t get much tougher. Do you have the strategies you need for survival? Do you know what essential steps you should be taking right now? It’s time to grab The Small Business Survival Guide.

Here we have mentioned some of the small business hard time strategies that can help you.

Use the low-budget marketing

Whenever the difficult time hits, the first of the thing that should be on top is to cut off. But it doesn’t mean that you should reduce your marketing activities, simply you can consider replacing them with low-budget marketing. PR, networking, public speaking, online marketing, etc are included in low-budget marketing.

Look outside

It will be difficult for small businesses to be only in the fixed marketplace. In hard times, it will be better to look beyond the regular boundaries of your business. One of the best things will be international trade.

The process doesn’t reply

Analysis occurring during talking or writing is beneficial in difficult times while replaying negative events is detrimental. Learn from mistakes and move on. Surviving through the difficult times whether personal or events like the recession require a healthy outlook as well as a good strategy. Just remember that bad times don’t last forever.

Connect with the peers

The hard time which is in the form of industry shakeouts or recessions will impact more than just your business. The whole team of the marketplace will feel that heat. A term coined by James Surowiecki in his bestselling book “The Wisdom of Crowds” asserts that the group wisdom is always greater than only than the individual.

If you use the crowd philosophy, your business can connect with the professional group. It can be very helpful for extracting knowledge and also the best practices applied during the business slump.

Cut with the precision

Employing a wide-sweeping cost reduction policy is the typical cost-cutting approach by the corporations in a hard time. Don’t cut too deep because your business might never be recovered. Exercise care and judgment in determining what and where to cut and by how much.

Fundamental focus

Business comes easy in the good times. Doing regular financial checks, managing your customer relationships, providing sales training are some of the fundamentals that need to be re-visited and re-learned.

In these challenging economic times, a little tweaking (as opposed to major surgery) can mean the difference between success and failure for small businesses. For example, using low cost marketing methods to get your company noticed; looking outside the regular boundaries of your business; using a light touch to cut costs, and above all, recognising what you’re good at and sticking with the game plan. Darrell Zahorsky, a small business specialist, explains.

Recession, economic downturn, dishonest partnership, or industry shakeout are all events that can put your business abilities to the test. Surviving in hard times requires a steel determination and never-say-quit attitude. But in today’s swift and merciless marketplace, more is needed than a winner’s attitude. Here are 6 small business hard time strategies to help steer the chopping waters of commerce.

Cut with Precision: Exercise care and judgment in determining what and where to cut and by how much.

Look Outside: In hard times, looking beyond the regular boundaries of your business is good business. One such opportunity is international trade.

Use Low Budget Marketing: The key to salvage any business in hard times isn’t to reduce your marketing activities but to replace them with low-budget marketing. Low-budget marketing included tactics such as PR, networking, public speaking, and more.

Connect With Peers:  A term coined by James Surowiecki in his bestselling book The Wisdom of Crowds, asserts that group wisdom is greater than the individual.

Using the crowd wisdom philosophy your business can connect with industry trade groups or professional peer groups to extract the knowledge and best practices applied during a business slump.

Fundamental Focus: Doing regular financial checks, providing sales training, managing your customer relationships are some of the fundamentals that need to be re-learned and re-visited.

Process Don’t Replay: Analysis occurring during talking or writing is beneficial in difficult times while replaying negative events is detrimental. Learn from mistakes and move on.

Surviving difficult times whether personal or events such as a recession require a healthy outlook as well as good strategy. Remember bad times don’t last forever.

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12 business survival tips for your business:

1. Pay attention to your finances

The best way to keep your company afloat in tough times is to pay attention to your finances. You mustn’t bank on your accountants or bookkeepers completely to make financial reports, as it is also your responsibility.

To make your business survive, you must have a deep understanding of your financial reports. You must know how your business runs, and the best way to do so is to see your finances with an eagle eye.

The more familiar you are with these financial reports, the easier it will be for you to spot the ways to improve your business.

These reports let you know where you can make some cuts for your business survival.


2. Don’t be Idle


business -survival

Doing nothing means inching towards the closure of your business. But, if you keep on searching for new avenues, then you might find a new project or win some new clients, which will give your confidence a boost.

Moreover, you must remember that you are the head member of your business family, if you stop doing anything, then all your employees will lose faith, which means your business can be on the verge of closure.

Even if you don’t find new clients or projects, be happy and energetic to motivate your employees and preserve an air of positivity in your workplace.

When your employees feel that all is okay in your business, then they will stay with you much longer, thus you can retain them.

Retaining employees is a very big challenge for small businesses as 13% of small businesses have issues in recruiting and retaining employees, according to a study.


3. Save Time & Money

13% of small businesses are unable to manage their time properly found in a research report. Wasting time on trivial things prevent businessmen from conceiving a great idea for their business and doing other important tasks.

Therefore, you must start saving your time and money as much as you can. Let’s take an example:

Your accountant spends too much time by going to every employee worked on a particular project for project expense details, putting that on paper, making a draft bill, checking it properly, and when finding it right, sending it to the customer/client.

However, if you have invoicing software for small business, then you can get your whole invoicing process customized as per your business requirements and convenience.

Doing so, not only you will save a tremendous amount of time, but you will also save money spent on ink, pen, paper, postage, and the like.

The time and money saved can be used in something feasible to take your business out of such complicated vertex.


4. Try something new



If what you are doing is unable to give you the expected results, then try something new and different. Remember that doing something new is like painting your business wall with creativity.

You’d better step out of your comfort zone. So, take advantage of this and do something different to know whether it works or not.

It may happen that your experiment or risk can set you apart from your business rivalries, and you create something incredible that can take your business to your intended level.


Know About  5 Ways to Manage Small Business Invoicing Easily


5. See the positive side of tough times

Although tough times make small business survival extremely difficult, you should remember that every coin has two sides, thus pay heed to the positive side of tough times.

In such times, many businessmen become nervous and pack their bag and baggage to leave the market, thus making it impossible for you to take try out new avenues and business models

Try to bank your investments and policies to avoid any crash crunch. In order to stride through such adverse times, try to resort to the traditional method of community outreach to spread the word out

Such times also force us to innovate and renew our business model and look out for the things which can be improved. Take tough times as an opportunity to reflect back and emerge as a better firm.


6. Keep existing customers happy at any cost

The best business survival step in tough times is to not lose your existing customers at any cost. Your customer service must be immune to such hard times.

In such situations, your loyal and existing customers are targetted by your competitors. In short, it is your test to show how well you can manage your customers by communicating, engaging, and last but not least fulfilling their current expectations.


7. Have some cash available


small business survival


According to some research, it came to surface that 33% of small businesses have cash flow/ capital issues.

In periods of crisis, you must be assured that you can take advantage of fleeting opportunities by having some cash reserve. Always maintain a minimum cash reserve ratio from your returns for such time. While setting up a business, always procure insurance policies beforehand as they come in handy. Back up your business with reliable sponsors and investors and don’t forget to frequently review your finances

Apart from that, have some savings and liquidating stock holdings for future use. If you can ask your family members for that, then don’t step back from doing so.

As a small business owner, you must have access to cash or a way to get funds to survive in tough times. And, remember that there is no substitute for cash.


8. Avoid negative people and thoughts

There is a proverb is English ‘if you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas’. This time, you need to be strong, and if anything like negative thoughts or people fill your mind with negativity, then avoid such people or thoughts.

You should better start spending time with positive people, which will bring a positive attitude to your life. Attending seminars, having online training, reading inspiring stories, and the like can work wonders for you.

And, always keep in mind that your positive attitude is your best companion at such times.


9. Invest in the business

One of the best survival tips is that you’d better start investing in your business. It’s wise to get your website upgraded, train your employees, buy new technology, and so on.

Doing something exciting will make your workplace atmosphere exciting and energetic. It means that you will not lose enthusiasm, thus raising your employees’ confidence.


10. Partner your local area business

If you have a lack of customers, then make other businesses’ customers your own customers. Let’s have an example to make it crystal-clear:

If you run a restaurant business, have a tie-up with a local function organizer in your area. Put up your food stall in their function to promote your restaurant cuisine and make some money from their customers.

By doing this, you can have more customers and your restaurant cuisines can reach out to more people, thus helping you have some earnings in such tough times to keep your business afloat.


11. Meet those having similar experiences

Having someone who has gone through the same experience can guide you best for your business survival. All you have to do is to be honest with them, tell them the exact problem, and what you need.

They will not take your problem, but advice from them and knowing their experience will give you some motivation and zeal to face such business challenges.


12. Put your whole journey on paper

business survival

Many businessmen often feel terrified of such business challenges come from a recession, unbearable competition, and the like, but they forget that this is the most valuable period for them.

Putting all on paper: the challenges you faced, how you overcame them, who supported you, what didn’t help you, what you needed, how much time a particular problem took, and the likes will prepare you for the next battle.

Moreover, whenever you feel devoid of hope or positive attitude in the future, read your whole business survival journey to convert your negativity into positivity.