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20 Replies Latest reply: Jul 16, 2009 3:02 PM by SBC Team RSS

Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”

CommunityTeam Novice
Currently Being Moderated
Want to get tips on navigating your small business through the "Great Recession?" Join us for a discussion with Rieva Lesonsky, former small business journalist and current small business owner, who has become a well known small business expert in the field. Rieva thinks it's critical for small business owners to have the right tools and resources to help them reduce expenses and better manage day-to-day work so they can focus on running their business in the current economic environment. This will also help small business owners begin to prepare for the economic recovery that is sure to come.

Rieva will be answering questions like:
  • What can I do now to shore up my business so I'm ahead of the competition when the economy comes out of the recession?
  • How can I better manage my cash flow?
  • What are some low cost marketing techniques that I can utilize to market my business in the current economic environment?
  • What types of responsibilities can I outsource, so that I can focus on more important tasks?
  • Is now a good time to invest in new technology and equipment?

About Rieva Lesonsky

 


Rieva Lesonsky is the CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky worked at Entrepreneur magazine for over 26 years, where she started as a Research Assistant and worked her way up to Editorial Director. Lesonsky wrote the bestselling book Start Your Own Business, currently in its 4th edition, and has co-authored several other books about small business and entrepreneurship, including Young Millionaires, Ultimate Book of Franchising and 303 Marketing Tips. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, Fox Business News, The Martha Stewart Show as well as Oprah and can regularly be seen on MSNBC's Your Business. Lesonsky served on the Small Business Administration's National Advisory Council for six years and the SBA honored her as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate.

 


Rieva will be live on SBOC on July 16 at 2:00 p.m. EST. However, if you can't participate at that specific day/time - you can post a question now and check back during or after the event for Rieva's response. Rieva will try to answer as many questions as possible on July 16, but may not get to all of them. Note, you do not need to register for the event. You simply need to be a member of SBOC to post a question. If you don't have a user ID, join now, it's free.

 


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  • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
    SBC Team Master
    Currently Being Moderated
    Live Event with Rieva Lesonsky this afternoon at 2PM EST.
  • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
    Tori Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    We have been hit hard by the economic environment, but have managed to survive it to date. There are conflicting signals as to whether the environment will improve. What signs should I look for when deciding whether ramp up in preparation for economic recovery?
    • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
      RievaLesonsky Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      There isn't going to be "the big moment" where someone says, "NOW". So I think there are enought smaller signs that say, it's time to start thinking recovery right now. If you wait until you know the economy is in the absolute clear, you'll have lost precious time getting ready.
      So think now, what can you do to prepare for the better times ahead. Will you need to hire people? You don't have to hire now, but start thinking about where you'll go and who you'll ask.
      Will you need to upgrade your technology? This is actually a GREAT time to do that, since prices are at historic lows and many of the bigf box electronic stores have authoriaed their floor staff to negotitate prices on the spot.
      Will you need new sources of products? Start lining them up today/
      Now is also a good time to talk to your landlord about negotiating a rent or lease deduction.
      Do you need a new company vehicle? Prices are low today and dealers are very willing to negotiate.

      This is a great time to switch you thinking from recession to recovery so when the phones start to ring, you're ready.
  • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
    Tori Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    If econmoic signals are mixed, is now really a good time to invest in new technology and equipment?
    • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
      RievaLesonsky Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      It actually is a great time to invest in technology, not just because prices are at record lows, but because there's so much great new tech otu there, you're missing out if you haven't upgraded in a while.
      Remember too, that time is money and if your hardware is sluggish, it's actually costing you to maintain those old machines. Prices are negotiable right now, so this is certainly not the time to be penny wise and pound foolish about upgarding your tech.
  • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
    Vince Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    I have also been hit hard by the current economic environment. Nonetheless, what steps should I take to shore up my business and position myself ahead of the competition when the economy comes out of the recession?
    • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
      RievaLesonsky Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      Thinking competitively is a great start. Now's a great time to assess what your competitors are doing and how they specifically differ from you. Do a price comparison. Unless you're the clear industry leader, it's not good to be the most expensive, but too many business owners undervalue their services. So make sure you're competitively priced.
      How does your competition market their products or services? Are they using methods and media you have not tried? Investigate what it would take for you to use these marketing tools.
      Also this is a great time to dip into social media and start marketing thru Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, etc. In many industries you can break new ground and expose your company to a brand new group of potential customers.
  • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
    Vince Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    With funding tightening and revenue streams drying up, How can I better manage my cash flow?
    • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
      SBC Team Master
      Currently Being Moderated
      We've hit a small glitch in Rieva's response to the last question, please be assured that your questions will be answered.
    • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
      RievaLesonsky Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      You're right Vince, cash flow is so important right now. So it's vital you get the most for your money. First you have to stay on top of accounts receivable. Make sure you're collecting from the people who owe you money. If some are lagging in payments to you, you might try incenting them by offering a small discount on the invoice if they pay within 30 days.

      But you also need to manage the money you have. Surprisingly, not too many small business owners know that you can actually open a saving account. We recently switched banks and when we met with our new banker (at Bank of America in Irvine, CA) we were surprised that we could put some of our money in s money market savings account. So we're now earning interest on some of our money, and today every dollar earned is a big help.

       

      Cash flow is also about what goes out. Check to see where you're spending? Can you cut back on subscriptions and read publications online for free? Are you spending too much on your coffee service? Perhaps it's smarter to bring in some coffee makers? Check your travel expenses. Maybe it's time to switch to the discount carriers or lower-priced hotels.
  • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
    MajorNathan Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    Why would I look at outsourcing manufacturing during a recession?? It would seem that during a down turn I would want to have as direct control as possible so I can rapidly control inventory. This seems especially true if the market requires product changes as we leave the recession.
    • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
      RievaLesonsky Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated

      I can't argue with your points. It is important to be on top of what you sell. However, price matters, today more than ever. So if it comes down to having to choose between control of product and the price to manufacture it, only you can decide what is most important to your busienss.

      That said, I don't think it's impossible to have both. Entrepreneurial friends of mine have their product manufactured in China. However they are in constant touch with the factories and go there at least quarterly to maintain relationships. So when they need or want to make a change to their products (and they sell a fashion trendy item) all it takes are some emails and calls to the factory.

      If you don't yet have that type of relationship with outsourced manufacturers this could be a great time to establish one. That way in a few months, you'll hopefully feel better about outsourcing and be able to get great prices as well.
  • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
    SBC Team Master
    Currently Being Moderated
    Please welcome Rieva Lesonsky, former small business journalist and current small business owner, who has become a well known small business expert in the field. Rieva will be posting as user RievaLesonsky. We're going to start off by asking Rieva some general questions. While we're doing this, if you have a question for Rieva please login and post now. If you don't see your question posted, you do not have to repost. We've received your post and will have Rieva respond when she gets the chance. Thanks! **don't forget to refresh your browsers often to see Rieva's latest reponse**
  • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
    Howard Novice
    Currently Being Moderated
    My son wants to leave his job and start his own business. I told him that he was crazy in this economy. What are your thoughts on the opportunity right now to start a new business during this down time? And if he does move forward (he's got his own mind), what advice would your provide?
    • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
      RievaLesonsky Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      Howard, I know it sounds counter-intuitve but this is actually a great time to start a business. So many exsiting business owners are laying low, that if your son launches and justs makes a little bit of noise (marketing) he'll get a big impact.
      But it's important that your son makes sure is idea is sound, i.e., will he be providing a product or service that people want or need? There are many services that are in high-demand right now, especially for some market segments, seniors and the kids market come to mine, but there are many more.
      It's even more important that your son immediately separate his business from his personal life.
      That means, create separate bank accounts. Get a different credit card. Chances are he won't be able to get a business card, but he should use of of hie personal cards and ONLY charge business expenses to that card.
      He should join a community like this one, where he has access to information from experts as well as being able to talk to other startup entrepreneurs as well as established business owners and get their advice.
      And Howard, starting a business is hard work. You should be proud your son is willing to take this on--and realize he needs all the support he can get from you.
  • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
    antiques4me Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    I own an antiques store and although I do get decent foot traffic - no one is buying! Do you have any low-cost marketing ideas? HELP!
    • Re: Event July 16:  Navigating Through the “Great Recession”
      RievaLesonsky Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      bq. Antiques are not necessities, which is likely why you're having a hard time right now. So you need to make it attractive for people to buy. Shoppers today are looking for value, not necessarily the lowest priced items, but the ones that give them the most value for their dollars. If you can show how your antique dresser, for instance, is made from real wood and will withstand more wear and tear than newer furniture, it might move a buyer. \\ Also you're going to need to offer some type of buying incentive. A coupon with with a % off, for instance. Or offer a special discount to an old regular customer if they bring in some friends and those friends make purcahses. Host an afternoon tea or have an event at your store. You might even try a fund-raiser with some % of money donated to a local good cause.

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