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As a small business owner, you are always looking for ways to combat tough times and keep your business afloat.  Larger economic issues certainly contribute to sinking sales, but these are not always to blame.  In fact, there are many factors; mismanagement, lack of organisation, stale marketing or advertising that can cause a small business to go under.

While each small business has its own distinctive challenges and returns, all small business owners can take some of the same steps to weather economic storms and keep their businesses afloat. 

Separate Your Finances

To take advantage of small business tax deductions, you’ve got to track the money coming into and going out of your business accounts.  It is tempting—and easy—to use your business accounts to pay for personal purchases, but keeping your personal and business accounts separate from the beginning will save you headaches later when it’s time to justify your business related expenses.  Keeping track of your business accounts independent of your personal ones also allows you to separate luxury from necessary business expenses, and make cuts when times are tough. 

Review Your People

Labour is likely one of the biggest costs of running a small business, so be sure to track yours properly.  This means more than just tracking the costs of wages, benefits, and other expenses associated with your staff.  It also involves conducting periodic staff reviews to ensure you’ve got the right people in the right positions.  You’ll be better able to make staff changes as necessary—and also to incentivise efficient employees.  

Recharge Your Advertising

Besides those in the travel sector, many small businesses experience a lull in sales during the summer months.  Consequently, many businesses also relax their advertising efforts in the summer season, giving you an opportunity to purchase less expensive advertising and distinguish your business from the rest.  And, though customers may be on holiday, this doesn’t mean they’re not willing to spend.  In fact, many customers are more likely to spend more money during the summer, making it the ideal season to refresh your advertising efforts and boost your sales.

Convert Your Business

The costs of running a brick and mortar business can be prohibitive, especially when your sales are deflating.  Depending on the type of small business you own, running your business solely online can save you money and allow you to invest in new products, people, and promotion strategies.  Plus, going online means your business isn’t limited to local or even national customers, but can reach new consumers in an international market. 

Nurture Your Relationships

Connecting with old and new clients is essential for keeping your small business going during times both good and bad.  Slow seasons are an excellent time to nurture existing relationships and to seek new ones.  Your regular clients will appreciate face time with you and the opportunity to discuss their satisfaction with your business in a personalised setting.  They may also be a strategic source for new business referrals.  Getting out into the public arena—think volunteer work, setting up a table at a farmers’ market—when sales slow down also puts you in a position to garner new business while making a difference in the community.