How Small Businesses Can Stay On Top in 2017

As we embark on a new year, one that is likely to be paved with new challenges as well as new opportunities, the nation and our state are at a turning point.  On January 20th we will have a new president for the first time in eight years and our state will be experiencing the last two years of Gov. Kasich’s tenure.  Consequently, this means that Gov. Kasich will soon be releasing his final biennial budget.  A budget that is certain to include cuts to various agencies and state-sponsored programs.

Gov. Kasich has alluded to state income tax revenues falling short of expectations and that Ohio will be facing a loss of federal Medicaid dollars.  In fact, the state has experienced its fifth straight month of revenue shortfalls.  Additionally, job growth and production numbers have continued to be underwhelming.  However, just because the state is expecting revenue shortfalls, doesn’t mean your business has to as well.

So, what do you do next?  After the “Great Recession” of 2007 – 2009 we learned a few timeless tips from SF Gate for small businesses to keep their head above water:

•Focus on top notch customer service – if you are now spending less to acquire new customers you certainly do not want to lose existing customers.

•If you are a business that offers credit to customers, get tough with your accounts receivables – typically 30 days to pay is generous enough.

•Pay attention to your cash flow and pay as many bills with cash as possible – during recessionary times the cost of debt is lower, but there is a reason for that. That reason is that taking on new debt is riskier.

•Keep an eye on competitor’s success (or lack of) – for example, if competitors have lowered prices in order to stay competitive you may have to respond. Also, if competitors were weakened as a result of a recession it may be a good opportunity to consider acquisition.

Now that Gov. Kasich has foreshadowed the next year or two, do you think it will have any impact on your business?  If you think it will, how so?  Finally, will you use this as an opportunity to freshen up your business plan or begin to pay more attention to your financial position? Let me know in the comments below or email me at bogden@ohiochamber.com.

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