The decline in gas prices seemed exciting at first. We start calculating in our heads the monthly savings as prices drop in half. That is an extra $200 per month! Awesome.
Then, we begin to hear news reports about how this sharp decline will affect the economy. It is just rumbling and we aren’t in the oil and gas business anyway.
As a small business owner, the effects begin to trickle in.
- Businesses that are in the oil and gas industry begin dramatic moves to reduce costs which includes layoffs, eliminating capital expenditures, and bidding out all services to get the lowest costs.
- Small businesses who sell to or serve the oil and gas industry start to see an impact as it is their services and expenses that are being cut or reduced.
- And then if you are a small business with customers who are businesses that serve the oil and gas businesses, your revenues are impacted.
Jobs begin to be eliminated at each of these levels. It gets scary.
I have seen several of my clients impacted at these different levels. I have read about many other small businesses that are impacted.
I don’t know if you are a small business owner who is directly impacted, but I believe we all will be impacted a little even if we are further down the direct ladder.
If you are impacted, here are some strategies to consider to keep your business healthy during the downturn.
5 Strategies to Keep Your Business Healthy
- Investigate and expand in target markets less impacted by the oil and gas industry. Step back and think about your product and services. Are there other niches you can focus on building? Do you have certain products and services that are less related to these industries that you can emphasize?
- Expand your market share. If you are a small business, it is likely that you only have a small percentage of the market. Bigger businesses are impacted more dramatically and they tend to require major cutbacks to survive. This gives small businesses an opportunity to show their exceptional service and be on the offense.
- Focus your team’s time and resources on sales and marketing. It is a self-fulfilling prophesy if we turn all of our attention to cost-cutting rather than revenue-generating activities. Keeping revenues strong even if margins suffer during the short-run keeps a business healthy.
- Reduce extra nice to have expenses. It is of course prudent to watch expenses and keep extras to a minimum during difficult economic times. Just focus on extras first, not foundational pieces of the business or revenue generating resources.
- Keep the faith. It is easy to let fear grab us. After all, we are only a small business and the big guys can’t even escape. We have to remember that fear comes from Satan, not God. We need to draw closer to the One who is in control. We need to pray for opportunities and pray for protection. We need to remember that God cares about our business. We need to look for His leading and direction.
Hopefully your business isn’t brand new and you have done things to weather-proof it from the storms, but even new businesses may find the opportunities even in the difficult times if you step back and use some of these strategies to help you navigate the storm.
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