Tough economic times require decisions that are as unique as your business. Why then, are so many independent business owners following the pack and taking action that could significantly hurt, if not kill, their business going forward?

Re-think the lay-offs. Think about it: If other companies are reducing their workforce; they are, in effect, backing out of the marketplace:

  • They have reduced productivity
  • Their customer service levels will begin to suffer
  • They will not be able to react to a customer needs quite as quickly
  • When things do turn around, they’ll be spending big bucks on hiring and training

This is the perfect time to push forward, not to pull back. Don’t follow the pack. Find creative business ideas to keep your employees busy, productive and employed.

The best time to promote your business is when everyone else has stopped promoting theirs. Marketing budgets at most small companies have been cut back severely, if not eliminated all together. That just increased the value of your marketing dollar ten-fold. Be one of the few out their promoting while the rest of your competition hides out, waiting for things to improve.

Here are some things you can do for little or no money that go a long way for your reputation in this environment. When appropriate, take pictures and tell the local press:

  • Together, with your employees, do something that needs done in your neighborhood.
  • Put on a food drive – get people into your business.
  • Accept donated items for our troops. Pay for the packing materials and shipping.
  • Adopt a family in need, provide the funds and ask the employees to do the shopping.
  • Be a mentor to small business owners starting out or struggling.

Don’t take out the water cooler. Think through all of the possible ramifications of a decision. Take the water cooler for instance. Seems like an easy way to save a few bucks, right? Wrong.

  • Employees are drinking less water. How does that affect their health?
  • More individual 16 oz bottles of water will be consumed. How does that affect our environment?
  • Employees are spending their disposable income on something the business previously provided. How does that affect their attitude? Company morale?

Think everything through. Before you jump on the bandwagon; you might want to ask yourself which direction it’s headed!