12 First Aid Remedies For An Ailing Small Business
Assisting a business in hard times requires immediate action
NEW YORK — Victory State Bank takes its role as Staten Island’s only community-based commercial bank extremely seriously. Those who bank with us are our friends and neighbors, so we are particularly concerned when a local business falters.
The bank feels it is fitting to share the following blog, submitted by Barton Horowitz of Relevant Public Relations, Graniteville, with Staten Island’s small-business community, particularly at a time when many local entrepreneurs are continuing to feel the effects of one of the worst economic periods in our nation’s history.
A friend recently told me about a decades-old family business that was facing the possibility of extinction.
He said the owners of the company were struggling with a financial crisis and “unless a miracle were to occur,” the business would permanently shut down within weeks. The owners, he said, seemed to have given up hope.
But as baseball legend Yogi Berra famously said: “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Naturally, there are some circumstances in which the problems facing an enterprise can be so overwhelming that it makes good sense to walk away or seek legal remedies. However, such decisions should not be left to the business owner alone.
Every entrepreneur knows the gift of being in the driver’s seat is not easily discarded. So, before closing the doors, small-business owners in need of a quick-recovery plan may want to consider these 12 suggestions:
1) REDEVELOP A BUSINESS PLAN
If you have a business plan in place, update it. If no plan exists, develop one ASAP. Lenders weigh the information in business plans as a factor in loan-eligibility decisions. A well-developed plan will clarify your business’s mission, goals and financials. Even if the completed plan indicates that your business falls short of loan eligibility, it remains a valuable tool for determining which areas of your enterprise need fixing.
Business-education organizations, such as local branches of the Small Business Development Center and SCORE, can assist a business owner in the creation of a business plan free of charge.
2) ASK FOR ADVICE
Before making any rash decisions, talk to financial and legal experts to get unbiased opinions about the state of your business.
For small-business owners, consultations should include a personal financial assessment, along with a list of cost-cutting measures for both business and home. Consider the experts’ advice as it relates to the future of your enterprise and personal lifestyle.
3) DETERMINE THE REASONS FOR THE DECLINE OF YOUR ENTERPRISE
What factors led to the instability of your enterprise? Rising costs? Fewer customers? Is the drop in revenue affecting your industry as a whole? In some instances, even a modest decline in business revenues can have a severe financial impact if the business owner’s personal expenses are excessive.
4) CUT OPERATING COSTS
Looks for ways to lower your business and personal expenses. And then, implement them – immediately. For example, can you relocate your office to a less expensive site, or renegotiate your lease? Can you take charge of some projects commonly handled by contractors?
5) CONSIDER CHANGING YOUR PRICES
How do your fees compare to what others in your field are charging? Are you charging too much, or too little? Prices on products and services can vary from region to region, so be extra careful with your evaluation – and make sure your prices are in line with the image of your brand.
6) REEXAMINE WHAT MAKES YOUR BUSINESS STAND OUT FROM COMPETITIORS
Are your products or services different in any way? Are they better? Do customers know the advantages of dealing with you?
7) SEEK FREE PROFESSIOINAL SUPPORT
Talk to business advisers about your current financial situation. Ask if they would consider providing their services pro bono, or for a discounted fee or by bartering, at least for a portion of the time it will take your business to recover. In addition, business groups, such as local offices of the Small Business Development Center and SCORE, provide invaluable business guidance free of charge.
8) TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY
Are you marketing your business, but not seeing results?
Are you doing any marketing at all? Consult with a public relations and marketing expert to learn about the most affordable, effective and quickest means for attracting – and keeping – customers.
A reputable PR professional should be able to suggest low-cost marketing-options you can do on your own.
9) REMIND PAST, PRESENT AND POTENTIAL FUTURE CUSTOMERS THAT YOUR BUSINESS EXISTS
Today’s world is fast and digital. Sales people have gone from ringing doorbells to repeating their messages on social media sites and smart-phone screens. Even the most satisfied customers can stray to your competition if you don’t regularly remind them about your company and the quality of services or products it provides. You need to relentlessly reach out to your marketplace to ensure the stability and growth of your business.
10) REIGNITE YOUR PRESENCE – ON AND OFF THE INTERNET.
If your business has one or more social media pages — such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube — or a blog that you’ve been neglecting, it’s time to get things jumping again. The same holds true for community and business-networking relationships.
11) DON’T PROCRASTINATE
Don’t waste time; this is a business emergency that needs your full and immediate attention.
12) REMIND YOURSELF ABOUT WHO YOU ARE
Being an entrepreneur requires a unique combination of drive, fortitude, perseverance, adrenaline and fearlessness. Remember what you have accomplished up until now, including the challenges you’ve overcome, and forge ahead.
About Relevant Public Relations LLC
Relevant Public Relations LLC (Relevant PR), “Where Success is Written®,” is a New York City-based multimedia public relations and marketing company with international reach. The firm’s president, Barton Horowitz, is an SBA Champion of the Year Award winner.
Relevant PR leads businesses, professional practices and organizations to greater heights by integrating all marketing and PR needs into a single efficiently run operation.
Relevant Public Relation’s custom-designed branding strategies succeed due to an innovative recipe of press releases; traditional, digital and broadcast-news distribution; social-media management; Website and blog content; e-mail marketing; commercial copywriting, and more.
Whether you require a single press release, a multimedia campaign or the information on your company brochure or Website professionally written, edited or updated, Relevant Public Relations can help.
About Victory State Bank:
VSB Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com .