The New York Times had an interesting snapshot of small business owners in New York and their feelings about how the economy is impacting their business and how they’re dealing with it.
You can also see video profiles of three of the business owners here.
For small business owners, this financial meltdown is being felt far and wide, with implications that range from layoffs, to moving to a smaller space to shutting down the business that has been in the family for decades.
It’s easy to understand why the economy is faltering — slower traffic means less sales which means less supplies and inventory, and that has a ripple effect across the entire economy, impacting nearly everyone.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Real world advice from real world business owners — do what they have to do to keep your business afloat.
The perspective that these six people provide offers a host of ideas:
Trim back the scale of the business — move to a smaller space, cut staff, ask a family member to start working in the business again (a couple people cited wives who rejoined the business as there aren’t any payroll expenses associated with that).
Cut expenses — a tour operator ran less buses and tried to fill them to capacity, thereby cutting payroll hours for drivers, and maximized the equipment they add, adding less wear and tear and using fuel more efficiently.
Go where the business is, or reach out to where the economic impact isn’t being felt as much — a construction company owner is operating in an area where people still need to do things to their house. While it may not be remodeling a bathroom, he’s surviving on smaller jobs. As a retailer, you need to identify and market to the neighborhoods where people might not be feeling the sting of the economy as much as other neighborhoods.
All of these business owners are looking for government intervention, and they’re looking for the markets to stabilize. They’re optimistic about the future – some of them are seeing the trends start to change, if only slightly.
With the pundits calling for this economic crisis to last throughout 2009, these small business owners are going to have to do whatever they can to survive.
How is your business faring and what are your prospects for 2009?