SCORE, "Counselors to America's Small Business," is offering advice to small business owners about mistakes to avoid during the recession that could harm income. Noting that entrepreneurs face challenges on many fronts (i.e. lower consumer spending, rising unemployment and tightening credit), and that inflation pressures have hit both businesses and customers, the nonprofit association suggests business owners act quickly and decisively to protect their business today.
"Small businesses feel the credit crunch first," said SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. "We have seen difficulty accessing capital and collecting payments from customers. Don't wait. Now is the time to meet with a SCORE mentor to make plans to tighten credit policies, cut expenses and look at holding cash in your accounts. Experienced SCORE mentors are here to help you plan actions to survive the recession and grow when the economy turns around."
SCORE has 389 offices nationwide with experts who offer free and confidential advice to small business owners. Mentors have experience in finance, accounting, management, marketing, sales prospecting and strategic planning.
SCORE's five tips for small business owners on avoiding recession pitfalls are:
1. Cutting expenses too slowly— Don't cut expenses a little bit at a time. Now is the time to look at expenses and decide whether your company needs to cut expenses five, 10 or up to 20 percent. Do what it takes early in the year and bring costs down.
2. Maintaining the same product and service mix— Your needs are changing. You can bet your clients needs have changed too. Call your existing clients and ask them what they need. Then, design your product service mix around those needs.
3. Reducing marketing instead of focusing on marketing— The company that stands tall, strong and visible in the marketplace has stature and status. Differentiate with strong marketing to drive leads and sales.
4. Lacking systems to free up your time— Streamline your business and become more efficient. Use a handheld organizer to keep track of phone numbers, dates, appointments and meetings. Set a time each week to handle routine tasks, bills and paperwork.
5. Keeping everything to yourself— Your team knows the economy is tough and wants to understand what the company is facing and how, together, you can make it through. Lead toward a brighter future by focusing your efforts on today.