Owning a small business is an uphill battle under the best of circumstances, and keeping afloat in a tough economy is even more challenging. From securing financing to grow to cutting costs, savvy business owners are finding creative ways to survive and thrive.
Here are some ways small businesses nationwide have been negotiating tough economic times:
You don't always have to pay top dollar for your vendors. Whether you run a local store or provide goods and services in your community, see what you can negotiate before you sign a contract or place an order.
Cut office hardware costs. If you don't meet with clients in your office, don't spend a fortune on decorating the space. Save this capital for something more crucial to your business' long-term success.
Save energy costs by turning off equipment when it's not in use, going paperless where possible, and using energy-saving computers like tablets or laptops instead of desktops.
Inquire with the career center of local colleges to offer credit-based internships. You'll get the same enthusiasm of a newly minted college grad at no cost.
Seek Progressive Financing
If your small business doesn't accept credit cards or doesn't have enough in monthly credit card receipts to qualify for a traditional cash advance, don't throw in the towel. New programs are making this a concern of the past.
"With traditional lenders tightening credit and reporting requirements, small businesses should seek progressive programs designed to broaden access to working capital," says Stephen Sheinbaum, President and CEO of Merchant Cash and Capital LLC (MCC).
Unlike a typical merchant cash advance, which is based on monthly credit card processing volume and business history, the MCC B2B Cash Advance program, for example, is based on a merchant's total monthly revenue which is verified by bank deposits.
The MCC B2B Cash Advance Program is simpler than securing a complicated business loan and funds are provided in as few as three days. More information can be found at www.merchantcashandcapital.com or by calling 877-461-2492.
Get the Word Out Wisely
Traditional marketing avenues can be costly. But you can generate a healthy dose of buzz without relying on an expensive marketing plan.
Face-to-face networking doesn't have to cost you much. Get involved in your community through volunteer programs and social clubs to make contact with potential customers and partners.
Use blogs and social networking sites to your advantage. Facebook and Twitter accounts are free, and provide a great platform for running reward-based promotions and discount announcements. Be active on relevant blogs by commenting on posts. Once you've established yourself as a trusted voice, you can direct attention to your own blog, which you should update daily.
Times may be tough, but new avenues can help you grow and market your operation.