State and local government bids and RFPs are notoriously difficult to locate. Unlike the federal government, which makes most purchases through GSA or FedBizOpps.gov programs, state and local offers are found in a large number of sources on the Internet: on government websites, public works pages , websites contracted by third parties and newspaper classifieds.To locate these offers, you may want...
If ever there was a timely business book, “Save Your Small Business: 10 Crucial Strategies for Surviving Tough Times or Closing and Moving Forward” by Ralph Warner and Bethany K. Laurence it certainly is. Promoted as a roadmap for small business survival, Warner and Laurence provide simple, sensible steps that can make a big difference in running, saving, or, if necessary, closing your small business. Running a small business has always been difficult, but these days it can be brutally agonizing, if not downright terrifying. This guide can simply give you the information to make today’s bad economy, or tomorrow’s bad economies, opportunities so that in good times your business is ready to prosper.
The book begins by saying that it will be your small business companion and recommends that you create a business survival plan, prepare a current profit and loss statement and cash flow analysis, and establish an advisory board. It delves into the chapters that will provide you with the tools to help you decide whether it makes sense to continue, hibernate, close, or sell your business and offers some strategies you can implement to get your business back on track.
Chapter One: Can It Save Your Business? This chapter covers topics such as planning for the short and long term, selling your business, putting your business into hibernation, and saving your business. It also discusses some special considerations for retailers, services, construction, restaurants, wholesalers, and importers and franchises.
Chapter Two: Don’t Ignore Bad News. They address why you can’t wait, cut costs, change direction, quit, and sell. There are also strategies to determine how much to reduce expenses and act slowly to reverse the cuts.
Chapter Three: Control Your Cash Flow. This area can be one of the most important, especially for small businesses. Topics include: Keep paying your bills on time, how to make more cash and what not to do, how to use merchant cash advances, maximize credit cards, and borrow against your home.
Chapter Four: Minimize Liability for Your Debts. Are you personally liable for business debts? Liability for jointly owned debt. What can creditors do if you don’t pay? Prioritize debt payments, including payroll, taxes, utilities, and many more.
Chapter Five: Focus On What Is Really Profitable. Face it, the goal of a business is to make a profit. This chapter looks at how to get a quick profit plan on paper, make money in a service business, and make money in retail or manufacturing. It’s a short chapter, but if it makes you think about making a profit, you’ve done your job.
Chapter six: Innovating with little money. This chapter covers invention, copying, serendipity, and making innovation a continuous process. This chapter may inspire you to think of the next great gadget that every home should have. Depending on your business, this may be what you need.
Chapter Seven: Identify Your Customers. Before you can create an effective marketing plan, you must know who your potential customers are. This chapter is about how to aim for the bullseye and complete your objective. Topics include current customers, need, price, access, and experience.
Chapter Eight: Don’t waste money on ineffective marketing. If only we knew which of our marketing efforts is producing the best results. This chapter helps you determine things about your marketing, such as: marketing the right products or services to the right people, not spending a lot of money on advertising, asking for long-term customer support, encouraging customers to recommend your business, use checklists effectively, market on your own website, and make a sale to “try to stay in business.”
Chapter Nine: Handle Layoffs Fairly and Keep Your Best People. Laying off people is often one of the most feared tasks of business owners. This chapter provides guidance in this area by looking at: Making a smart layoff plan, the logistics of a layoff, and keeping the great people you hire. Very good advice for this unfortunate part of the business.
Chapter Ten: Don’t work too hard. That? If your business is failing, you have to work harder, right? This chapter addresses the importance of a healthy schedule and how to work less and earn more. Priorities and delegation are the keys that the authors discuss.
Chapter Eleven: Work With Your Best Competitors. The four areas this chapter covers include: Treating your competition with respect, winning business from your competition, working for your competition, and working with your competition.
Chapter Twelve: How to Close Your Business. Most people never want this to happen, but the reality is that it does. This chapter offers some good strategies if you decide it’s time to go out of business and do something else. Topics include things like creating a closing team, analyzing contractual obligations, dealing with owners, collecting invoices and selling inventory, notifying and paying employees, liquidating assets, notifying creditors and clients, paying your debts, paying taxes and dissolve your business entity. . This is not a pleasant topic, but unfortunately it is important if you have to go in this direction. The book provides a guide in the process.
Chapter Thirteen: Debt Management: Bankruptcy and Its Alternatives. Introductory chapter on these topics with some good advice, but you will need more resources if you decide to go down the bankruptcy path, or better yet, seek the advice of a qualified professional.
Appendix A provides guidance on how to prepare a profit and loss forecast and a cash flow analysis. There are undoubtedly more comprehensive references on these, but these short, basic basics about them will get you started and at least help you determine where you are.
“Save Your Small Business” is a good guide for the struggling small business owner, and it also provides information for the small business owner who doesn’t want to fall through hard times. Educating yourself about business is crucial to the success of small businesses. This is one more title from Nolo that will hopefully help small business owners survive, but also liquidate and close with less pain if that’s the course they need to take.