The media is full of stories of economic downturns, bankruptcies, and businesses going out of business. While you can look just about anywhere and find the “bad” that is out there, the recession can actually do small businesses some good as well. Instead of bemoaning your situation, change it around and find some positive aspects to focus in on.
Its been said that some of the strongest, healthiest companies in the world were started during hard economic times. It may be because you have to watch how you spend your money and what you invest in. Here are a few things that can help you increase your business savviness over the coming months.
Make savings a priority
Because we’re in the middle of a recession with no clear end in sight, assume this is the new “norm”. What can you do today to make next year at this same time even better? Getting loans is more difficult than ever. Lines of credit are all but extinct. And the last thing you want is to bring on more credit card debt. Make a conscious effort to live within your means, and create a savings account now for life’s little emergencies. Even if you can only add $50 a month to it, consider it as an investment towards your future.
Pay debts on time or ahead of time
When you are living paycheck to paycheck, every dollar counts. And if you fall into the “fee” trap you’ll quickly find yourself in a difficult position. Banks don’t make money if you pay on time; they like the clients that don’t make payments, have their interest rates go up, and are assessed fee after fee for late payments. Make it a habit to pay ahead of time, or at the very least on time.
Purchase only what you truly need
Are you an impulse buyer? If you head off to a photographic convention, or get the latest magazine, do you fall in love with the latest “thing” and have to have it? I’ve known plenty of photographers that fall into that category. But in today’s world, that can be dangerous. Before you buy anything, ask yourself if you truly need it. Is it for one shoot, or will you use it all the time? Equipment can be rented. If you only use a large flash setup, or need a micro lens once or twice a year, rent them instead of buying them. The couple hundred dollars in costs will far outway the hundreds or even thousands of dollars you would spend buying it, and putting it on to your credit card.
Price match everything you buy
Need something new? Instead of purchasing it at the store you first find it at, price shop it instead. Pull out the Sunday ad section and see if its on sale anywhere in town. Sign up for coupons at your favorite stores. Do a search in Google to find if you can purchase the same thing elsewhere and have it mailed to you. Yes, you might have to wait a few days for your item, but it could save you a ton of money, especially if it’s a big ticket item.
Learn more about business
When things are going well, its business as usual. In today’s marketplace, its more important than ever to learn about a variety of things from business, to finances, to the economy. Visit your favorite online newspapers daily to find out what is happening in the world. Head to your local library and pick up a book on economics. Or find a class in business that can help you understand things from a different point of view. Use this time to increase your education in a variety of areas.
Instead of living the high life in the good times, learn to control your spontaneity. What will you do five years from now if the current marketplace is the same – or even worse? Think about where you would like to be five, ten, even twenty years from now and start creating plans to achieve it. Meet with financial planners to gain their advice. Attend seminars to learn more about investing both for you and your family. The more you learn, the more creative you will be in the coming years.