Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Do you like a challenge? You'd better if you own a business these days. 2009 is going to be a challenging year for all businesses. That's the bad news. The good news is that the downturn will pass, and the actions owners take today will either make their companies stronger in the future or obsolete.
Here are 5 questions to make your business stronger for the future:
1. Are you looking for more opportunities, both inside and outside the organization? Successful companies are not afraid to dump old products and move on to new ones. This downturn will bring many new opportunities. Which ones can you capitalize on.
2. Do you have a mentor? Mentors can jump-start an entrepreneur’s knowledge level, link him or her up with new contacts, offer feedback on ideas, plans and strategies and even provide help in raising capital. Now, more than ever, it is important to gain the knowledge of veteran entrepreneurs. Find owners who have been through a few downturns.
3. Have you built an A-team?Savvy entrepreneurs bring people into the organization who are smarter and more skilled than they are. They then create incentives to keep them. The best entrepreneurs are clearly team builders. Many businesses are letting quality people go because of the downturn. There is a lot of talent looking for work.
4. Are you radiating your passion? Success belongs to people with passion. Zeal sustains entrepreneurs during the ups and downs. It becomes contagious, rubbing off on employees and customers.
5. Are you providing mind-boggling service? When you deliver legendary customer service, customers will rave about your company and become tremendously loyal. Even in a downturn, they will find you.
--Ron Ameln, SBM

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Credit Outlook For 2009

Credit has never been easy for small businesses. Most small firms have always relied on savings, credit cards, family and friends, angel investors and other forms of alternative financing to build their dreams.
Things certainly don't look any different in 2009. In fact, with many businesses bottom lines shrinking and banks in a cautious mood, capital from banks may be more difficult than ever to obtain. Small businesses will have to be more creative searching for financing more flexible when it comes to alternative sources such as factoring and batering.
Click here to read an interesting article on the lending outlook.