January 29th 2016

Business Advice for a Slow Economic Time.

The Vulcan Business Development Society (VBDS) is here to work with your small business to ride out this recession and will be providing articles with strategies to achieve cost savings, marketing punch and customer retention.

This is how we’re all going to get through the next few years of low oil prices and higher costs.

Initial unscientific data gathered has shown most small businesses are impacted right now — with sales down by up to 19 per cent in some sectors.

Small business is volatile at best — with 80 per cent of new business failing in the first two years, and that figure is from a stronger economic time.

Today, the chances of failing are more like 90 per cent based on current opinion.

Even small businesses with a proven track record have to develop effective strategies for keeping the doors open.

When sales start to go down, business will need to recover — through drive, determination, creativity and strategy. That requires a plan.

First, stay savvy — come up with real, doable ways to reduce expenses. Reducing expenses and increasing cash flow is the first major challenge most of us (including at VBDS) have to face.

But no service can translate into no income — don’t let good staff walk out during times like these. Less money out, more money in — sounds easy, right? Not so fast. How does a business achieve higher profits during tough times?

These articles are being presented in the hopes that you’ll find value in ways to shrink the payables, or money out, and keep your small business alive during these tough financial times.

Improve your cash flow — actively taking steps to keep your cash flow strong and consistent can make a critical move on your businesses future.

Work with your suppliers to reduce expenses, and negotiate for longer terms to keep more money in your account longer.

Suppliers are struggling too, so they should be receptive to accepting your terms to maintain your business.

Negotiate shorter terms with your clients so you get paid sooner.

Improve that cash flow by expanding your customer base and never waiting for “that one big payment” while you are collecting steady, smaller revenues.

Invoice quickly so you can have a constant cash flow coming in.

When ordering stock, keep in mind the turnaround time for that investment. If you have seasonal items, be on top of what is moving and what is not.

Most importantly, do what you are doing right now.

Keep researching ways to improve your company’s chance of succeeding.

Take a social media course — use the internet where you can.

Be creative — is there a way to partner with other businesses to draw in more action? Is there a way to improve the look by cleaning and rearranging your store?

The more effort and energy you put into keeping your business alive, the more likely you will be one of the 10 per cent that survives.

For help with marketing and more, contact VBDS at 403-485-4100 and ask for Marilyn MacArthur.