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3 strategies to manage your small business during a crisis

If the viability of your business is at risk and you’re considering what to do next, consider these three options.

If you removed the immediate problem, would the pressure disappear and does the business have a real long-term future? If the core demand is still sound, then you may have more options than you think.

Here are three strategies to consider.

1. Find value inside your business.

If you’re determined to keep the business intact  there are some things you can do to increase the chance of surviving. Initially focus on selling current products or services to your existing reliable  customers, as it should be the easiest to do. They know you. Then, contact the rest of your customer database with phone calls, emails, visits, social media or e-newsletters with special offers to cross-sell or up-sell to other product lines.

Next, look for wider opportunities to increase sales—some industries or markets will be doing better than others. There are a number of ideas you could investigate including:

  • Approach new customer segments
  • Diversify by branching into new products and services
  • Move parts of your business online
  • Market in regions traditionally outside your area
  • Sell through online marketplaces
  • Use social media sales platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube etc.)

You could also look at partnering or collaborating with other businesses, some who may be struggling but others will be thriving. Do whatever it takes to keep your business afloat until the market corrects itself back to business as usual.

2. Re-structure your business

If drastic action is required, think about keeping the parts of your business that work and reinvent or re-structure your business to adjust to the new normal. Take a close look at what can be salvaged and then act like a new start-up to build a new, stronger business on the foundations of the old one. What would you do differently and how would the business look?

You may want to:

  • Delete unprofitable product or service lines
  • Close down parts of the business that no longer contribute  to success
  • Sell or lease assets not needed
  • Invest in new research and development

If you can, establish one or more identifiable target markets  and then design your business around providing an exceptional service offering in that area. Customers will still need to know what is special about your business to set you apart from your competitors, so try to differentiate with unique products and services.

Once you decide to restructure, obtain as much input as you can from your advisors, existing staff, industry experts, and those you trust for business advice. Don’t forget to search the internet, subscribe to industry news, visit business association sites and talk to suppliers to validate your ideas

3. Consider Selling

You’ve worked hard and invested your time and money to build your business. But, if other options aren’t available to you, you may need to make the difficult decision to sell or close. If you’re thinking about selling your business, it’s crucial to work through the details that will help you maximize your price and make your business more attractive to potential buyers.

To reduce the risks involved with moving on, employ experts to help guide you through the steps of preparing to sell, putting the business on the market, and completion of the transaction and transition. You should always talk to your accountant and lawyer and consider working with a business broker to assist with a sale.

A business crisis can also be an opportunity. These strategies can help you rethink your business and operating model. If you’ve been profitable in the past, and offer products and services that people want, this could be the time to see how you can create more value from your current customers or streamline your business.

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