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How to survive lean times

Ideas to Survive the Lean Times

All businesses experience busy periods and quiet periods which are either expected or unexpected.  Some businesses are naturally seasonal, and others are very vulnerable to economic fluctuations, but all can take steps to make those lean times easier to handle and less likely to lead their business into financial difficulties.

Preparation

Obviously, if you have a business which is naturally seasonal, like retail or tourism, it’s easy to prepare for lean times because you know they’re coming.  With other less predictable businesses though, who may suffer sudden lean times due to political factors or even transport issues – as we saw in Brighton with train troubles affecting the number of day trippers – it is less easy to plan for quieter times but there are good practices to save money all year round and other measures you can have in place if you need them.

Priorities and Boundaries

When times are good, it is very tempting to splash out on things we want in our business rather than sticking to things we absolutely need.  This is fine as a rule but it is wise to identify what the essentials actually are, so you are able to make cut backs quickly and effectively if you need to.  In identifying what is vital to your business, it’s a good idea to think hard about anything which is taking up time, energy and money and ask yourself if these are things – or even staff members, sadly – you are holding onto for reasons other than them being essential to the business.  Doing this before the lean times arise is a good idea because it will mean you are less likely to make rash decisions.

Quick Wins and Cutting Losses

Funnelling resources into ways to boost turnover is necessary in quieter times and this means cutting back in areas which may have long term gain but are not producing results in the short term.  It’s quite a painful process to have to focus on ‘the now’ quite so much but looking for instant quick wins, whether it is selling off stock cheaply or putting all your effort into services you know sell, is important in keeping businesses afloat during difficult times.

Innovation

Conversely to the previous point, some businesses really benefit from innovating and diversifying when times are tight rather than narrowing their focus.  Lots of businesses who can see lean times coming have benefitted from investing in new areas to launch when their main business has started to slow.  Even businesses who experience unexpected quiet periods could benefit from repurposing what they have – whether that’s staff, equipment, stock, or their premises – to open new revenue streams and find alternative sources of income.

Loans

As a debt management company, we are very aware of the dangers of relying on loans to get businesses through quiet times but sometimes they are the best way to do it.  When considering taking out a loan to tide your business over, it is important to get the right sort of loan and not to rush into things.  There are good independent business loan brokers about who could be worth speaking to but it’s absolutely vital to do your research and planning to find out if you definitely need a loan and aren’t likely to end up with debt problems.

If your business is struggling with debt issues after a quiet period or are experiencing a quiet period currently which is causing debt problems, talk to us and we can help you come up with a solution to the debt situation to leave you in the best position.  Give us a call for an informal chat on 01323 446644 or email office@r2bbs.co.uk.

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