Sales are plummeting, and as a small business owner, you might not have a ton of extra fluff to lean on while you wait for things to recover. The worst part is that there isn’t anything you can do about it; it’s just a regular economic slump, and you’re stuck dealing with it…or giving in. Sometimes, there’s just not a way to quickly fix your issue, especially since your business is unique in many ways, so you can’t just copy another company’s strategy without a significant amount of risk. However, there are some things that help almost all business owners recover, so let’s take a look at what those are.
There is Always a Big Picture
Sometimes looking at the big picture is scary at best and absolutely horrifying at worst, but often, it’s a good idea. Focusing on the small problems isn’t a bad idea, especially since those problems are immediate and obvious, but looking at the overall picture can help you look at things that will enact lasting change and, hopefully, give you more insight on the true size of the problem you’re facing.
Let’s look at a quick example. There is an employee at your company that, when you look at their overall performance, you notice is making tons of mistakes when it comes to inventory. Sure, you might want to just let this employee go, and assume that will fix your problems. However, what if the problem isn’t with the employee, but with the person who trained him or her? The initial reaction may be to fire the employee and you may feel like that will fix the problem, but the bigger picture shows you that it wouldn’t fix everything.
Take a Hard Look at Your Employees
Generally speaking, one of the top expenses of your business is payroll, so it’s important that you look at it post haste if you’re having a budgeting issue. Unfortunately, sometimes this means a review of your staff so that you can be sure that everyone is doing everything they need to be doing. This will help you confirm that everyone getting paid to be there is doing their job to the best of their abilities and effectively, too. Sometimes this may mean replacing a cheaper employee with a more expensive one as well—someone who works twice as hard for 20% more of the cost is someone you definitely want on your team.
Keep the Quality Up
Even if your issue is all about the money, the answer is not to sacrifice quality—ever! If your entire problem is with a product, it make sense to handle that issue. If the product you create is too expensive to create, then it may be time to look at other venues for creating it, but not to reduce the quality. If you own a pizza shop and you’re known for your fluffy crusts and large portions, you should not sacrifice those things to stay in business. When the business does come back, they will be less likely to come back to you when you do.
All in all, keep an eye on the bigger picture, make sure you evaluate your employees and never, ever sacrifice quality to save a few dollars—it’s never worth it. Cut other places. Tighten your belt, and carry on.