An economic storm brews for Canada’s small businesses. Interest rates are climbing, and the price of general household good are rising because of gas prices. It costs more to get goods to local retailers, and supply issues and wars raging in Europe translate to higher prices.
As explained by Eric Rosenbaum in his article, “Main Street is convinced that a recession will hit the U.S. economy this year.” In this article, He talks about the lack of confidence that economists and investment professionals have in the present economy recovering or coming out of its current condition with a soft landing. What is the opposite of a soft landing? I’ll leave that with you.
Eric Rosenbaum introduces a survey by CNBC|SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey. This survey explains the thinking of small business owners. I went through the study, and my conclusion may differ from yours. Small business owners are optimistic, so if you choose to check out the survey, look at the external forces that concern SMB and what’s out of their control to get a better picture. All in all, small business owners are not confident about the economic sailing ahead.
What’s the point. When the sailing gets rough and there’s a storm ahead, it’s all hands on deck; it’s time to get your equipment in shape. For some small businesses, there’s failure ahead. To prevent your company for failing, what steps should you take? What’s the solution?
Small businesses tend not to do market research. Some think it’s too expensive. If you are going to survive do it now. It’s time to assess all aspects of your industry. Bigger ships in a storm will fear better the small ones. More prominent companies can take more economic hits. Get your strategy in order.
Many small companies fly by the seat of their pants, if I may borrow a phrase from the aviation industry—their failure to plan is a plan to fail.
Where to begin? Start with a S.W.O.T. analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats within your market.) Get this guide published by HubSpot. The guide is entitled “Market Research Kit 5 Market Research Templates + Free Guide.”
In doing your research, you will see your competitor’s offers and what’s working for them, especially if you offer similar products.
You will examine their strengths compared to yours. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and empathize with them. Find out why they like your competition.
Ask yourself what they are better at than me? It may be possible for you to find an area where you can serve or even over-deliver for your clients, strengthening your relationship with them. If your customers love how you treat them, they’ll talk about you to others. You can’t buy that kind of marketing. It may not always be possible to beat your competitor’s price point.
As I mentioned, if you are a small company, it’s nearly impossible to beat the prices of larger outfits or carry more inventory. You can lift your hands in the air and give up at this point, but not with reliable research.
If you have your research in hand, you can take a more granular look at the situation. If you did your demographic study well, you built the right personas; you might be able to take advantage of a fact about your customers your competition overlooked or not their focus.
Here is an example. From your research, you realize that 60% of your clients are young families from your study. The widger you sell indeed has nothing to do with the family directly. Could you offer a discount coupon with the widget you sell to an amusement park or a camp grown? You understand what I mean. You are thinking about the whole customer picture.
The point. You need your shipmates to handle the winds and waves in a storm. Your shipmates are not just your staff; they are your customers too. With an economic storm on the horizon, everyone is already feeling the winds. , It would be best to get to know your customers even by name. Tighten your relationship. Do relationship building.
It’s “Jack Be Nimble Jill Be Quick.” Everything in business is speeding up. Your competitors are becoming automated. Information is available in seconds. Customers have more choices.
Do you have the tools to keep up with rapid change? The good news for small businesses is that you can make changes much faster than larger companies. Take advantage of your agility.
Act now, invest in customer relations software. HubSpot offers an all-in-one solution. What I mean by all in one is everything is on one platform—marketing, Sales and Service. There is no disconnect between departments which so often frustrates clients. Check them out.