Many of the self employed business owners I talk to are skeptical about when, how fast, or how prolonged any coming economic recovery will be. That leaves them reluctant to spend money right now when they are unsure of how soon they’ll be getting a return on that marketing or expansion investment.
I talk to dozens of self employed and small business owners every week in my client meetings, networking groups, and chamber functions. Since my passion in life is to make my self employed clients more successful, I pay attention to the trends of the moment so they’ll benefit quickly
Here are 5 real-time ways my savviest self employed clients, friends, and connections are getting ready to reap results from the coming economic recovery but not yet spending a dime.
1) Get out there and network. Traditional old face-to-face networking is on the rise. Our chamber has increased its number of events and attendance has also increased. People are having conversations, handing out their cards and meeting new prospects.
2) Get quotes. Some self employed business owners are requesting proposals for new mailers, new promotional items, new brochures, or new Internet methods. Although they are taking longer to pull the trigger on starting the projects, they are gathering information so they can make an informed decision to spend when the time is right.
3) Get Ideas. In my networking meetings, several times weekly, I am hearing discussions about what’s working and how to get started. Again, the dollars are not yet committed, but new ideas are being discussed, weighed, and considered. People are talking to new potential vendors as well as old favorites. Also, they’re talking to other self employed small business owners who have the same target market to get different perspectives. For example remodelers are talking to real estate agents.
4) Stage your implementation. Some of my network of business owners and others are starting small. Several have discussed how to start remodeling projects and do it in phases because they are tired of waiting and still want the work done.
5) Get educated on Social Media, Internet marketing and unfamiliar techniques. I hear conversations on who is using LinkedIn and how, who is using Facebook and why, as well as what’s not working. My Internet-related business owners are hosting educational seminars and fielding a lot of questions, both in and out of the classroom. Several business owners I deal with have started new email newsletters so their names will be top-of-mind when projects come up. Such techniques are extremely inexpensive and perfect for business owners with time available but few marketing dollars.
So that’s it. Even if you are not getting big orders, large sales, or copious numbers of new customers, there is lots of pre-buying activity going on right now. Don’t let it pass you by; get out there and get ready.
Now stop reading about Recovery Without Committing Cash Today and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For many of my self employed clients, the sales cycle is already on an upswing. Recovery recession has turned from a deep desire to a slow spiral of reality. Now comes regroup, refocus and rebuild. As you build plans for the rest of this year and into next, avoid these deadly financial mistakes that may kill your business during the next recession. Yes, there will be a next recession; they’re a normal.
Waiting for the All Clear Signal – If you are waiting for headlines that say unemployment is falling, home sales are booming, and sales exceed expectations, you’ll be too late.
Focusing Solely on Debt – You have friends whose business lines of credit have been frozen and others just killed by debt. Your own debt may be frightening. As your income increases, don’t make debt reduction your only priority. Build a stash cash for the next recession, even if you have to start small.
Forgetting Lessons Learned – Now is a great time to make a list of smart things we wish we’d done: saved more, put more away for retirement, researched more before spending, retaining marginal employees. What did you wish you’d done? Now don’t forget.
Old Thinking – No, we will not go back to the easy credit, easy sales, and easy growth of 2003 through 2007. Just like the Great Depression, people’s buying habits have changed for a generation. You’ll need new sales techniques, new marketing techniques, and new customer service methods if you want to be a winner over this next expansion.
Competing on Price – Yes, most of us think Berks County buyers only care about price. If that’s true, why is Wal-Mart not the only store in town? Focus on value above price.
Ignoring Your Best employees – Many small businesses reduced employee work-week to save money. In many cases, the work load didn’t decrease so employees took work home or even came into the office without pay. If it’s too soon to put these best team player employees back on full pay, find some other way to show you value them. Otherwise, you risk them finding another job later this year.
No Plan for Next Recession – Hopefully we’ll have three or four years before another economic downturn. Come up with a plan for getting ready. What did you wish you’d done differently five years ago that would have made you weather this last recession better. Then do that.
They say that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. So here’s to the newly strong, self employed getting a whole lot stronger.
Now stop reading about The 7 Deadliest Financial Mistakes and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at email@example.com.
Very recently, several of my clients have begun sharing that their sales have turned up over the last couple months. Yeah, finally! Since I talk to business owners every day, and no one has expressed that sales are getting worse, this constitutes a trend, albeit an unscientific one. But, hey, any good news brings a sigh of relief at this point.
With sales up and seeing your business operate in the black, at least on paper, you might think your troubles would be over soon. Not to burst your bubble, but don’t forget about a brand new kind of cash flow squeeze. How could such a squeeze be new when you’ve already been dealing with cash deficit issues for well over a year?
During the recession, clients who pay an invoice began paying slower. Now with your sales going up, your expenses are probably going up too. So while your sales and billings might increase, the number of days to get paid has gotten longer. This is causing the new kind of cash squeeze. One where expenses go up because but the cash to pay for those sales doesn’t come in until 30 to 45 days later. Before the recession took hold your invoices might have been paid in 15 to 30 days. Now, you are carrying additional cost with slower pay and may already have drawn upon your credit line too much for comfort. This leaves you squeezed in a new and more uncomfortable ways even as your sales look more promising.
So, how do you compensate?
1) Your cost cutting days may not be over, even with light on the horizon and sales increasing.
2) Yes, delaying your own payments may still be necessary.
3) Invoice more often, for partial payments at start of contract and at delivery points.
4) Drawing on your credit line may be required even if you were lucky enough to have avoided it so far.
5) Get creative, or call me and we’ll get creative together.
And lastly, don’t forget to count your blessings. Slashing of prices just to stay competitive may soon be over. Wondering when it will end is a thing of the past. You survived the Great Recession of 2008-2009. And while you may never return to the glory days of 2004-2005-2006, you are now better prepared. Remember, good habits get formed in bad times, but we get to keep those good habits forever.
Now stop reading about recovering from the recession and start doing! Let’s create your personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.