Washington, DC (PRESS RELEASE – November 4, 2008) – Entrepreneurs face challenges on many fronts during the next 12 months, including lower consumer spending, rising unemployment, tightening credit, and inflation pressures that hit both businesses and customers.
Business owners can consider a number of steps to take stock of their current situation, make changes to reduce costs and increase their profitability. SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” offers tips on how small businesses can check up on their status during a slowing economy.
SCORE CEO Ken Yancey says, “In November, SCORE offers all entrepreneurs a free and confidential ‘small business check-up’ to assess their business conditions, plan to preserve cash and map a plan for sales success in 2009.” Yancey adds, “Small business owners are smart, resilient and optimistic. However, conditions have become difficult. Experienced SCORE mentors are available to help small business owners plan to rebound from the pressures of a down economy.”
Small Business Check-up Tips
– Don’t panic. Be calm and rational as you look at your business. Don’t let stress keep you from focusing on the fundamentals. Focus on what you can control about your business. Efficient and resourceful entrepreneurs cut costs, plan capital expenditures and focus on shoring up sales. They look for new ways of doing business. Recognize that your competitors may be struggling too. Be sure your business survives.
– Consult your mentors. Keep in touch with your CPA and be aware of tax breaks for small businesses. Get feedback from informal advisors you trust. Ask SCORE for advice and meet to review the health of your business. Plan for a profitable year in 2009, even with potentially little or no growth.
– Look for local funding. Contact your city, county or state governments when you seek capital. Sometimes there are programs with grants or loans in specific industries. Many economic development offices have programs for qualified small firms. Community banks also may be a source of a line of credit. A solid business plan can help you make your case.
– Find ways to cut costs. Check your cash flow on a regular basis. Cut costs and hold the line on price increases. Be sure you have good collection policies and quickly collect money that is owed to your business. Cut the costs of collection agencies by putting good systems in place up front. Keep good records of your inventory and be careful not to overstock your shelves.
– Continue your marketing. This is the time you need marketing the most. It reassures your customers that you are still there to serve them, and it can help you reach new markets to sustain your business. Consider publishing email newsletters and sales alerts. Let people sign up for them on your Web site.
“Now is the perfect time to meet with SCORE mentors for a business review and planning session,” says SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. “SCORE offices across the country are offering the opportunity to schedule a ‘business check-up’ anytime. SCORE can help you look at where your business is today, discuss your ideas, and talk about how you can succeed in 2009.”
Visit www.score.org and click on “Find SCORE Now” to locate the nearest SCORE office using SCORE’s new mapping tool. Enter your ZIP code or city and state. Get answers to your questions by email; simply click on “Ask SCORE.”
Since 1964, SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 8 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through counseling and business workshops. More than 10,500 volunteer business counselors in 389 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses.
For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE on the Web at www.score.org or www.score.org/women.