Starting a business in a normal environment requires hard work and patience, but it is even harder to make it happen in a tough economy.  When credit markets are tight, and the economy isn’t doing so well, it can be quite hard to get financing and convince people to buy from you. Therefore, entrepreneurs must hone their business skills and find a way of succeeding in today’s economy.

With the economic uncertainty continuing to rise due to the outbreak of COVID-19, entrepreneurs may feel discouraged to start, own, or run small businesses. Many factors contribute to these feelings of doubt, such as the probability of a recession.

But there is no need to panic because there are many things you can do to realize your dream of becoming a business owner. No matter the situation, there will always be an opportunity you can grab and capitalize on to push your business idea forward.

So, if you are thinking about leaping into entrepreneurship, consider the following tips to succeed in today’s economy.

Focus on Your Core Competencies

Everyone has something that they are really good at. This will most likely be the product or service you want to offer, and this is what will carry you through the most difficult times. Focus on what you can do best and find ways of improving.

During the hard times, don’t try to find a new path with an unknown return on investment. Instead, focus more on your product/service to make it better.  Sometimes, bigger risks lead to bigger rewards, but you need to be extremely careful during hard times to avoid losing your investment.

If you had started big, find ways to scale back and only focus on what you think will perform the best. Don’t spend a lot of money trying to support weaker products/services but focus on promoting your best product/services to the few clients you have already attracted and prospects.

Start Small…With a Plan to Expand

It is always good to manage your expectations when you are starting up. In fact, this is one of the top secrets of succeeding in today’s economy.  Once everything takes off as you had expected, you can start to review your business plan and find ways of expanding.

For instance, you can decide to start your business in a relatively smaller and less expensive location or stay virtual during the first few months. Once your business picks up and has a few customers, you can set up a physical office.

The other important thing you need to think about while starting is your staffing needs.  Can you manage everything on your own, or will you need to hire employees? If you need to hire, will it be on a temporary, part-time, or full-time basis?

Before you start thinking about hiring full-time employees, you can start with independent contractors, part-time and temporary staff. If you are opening your small business in an area that has seen several businesses close, you can easily pick up some great talent for slightly less compensation.

However, you need to be realistic about the employee benefits you offer and operate within the legal requirements. Start with what you can afford as long as it is acceptable within the law and add more benefits as your profits increase.

Strive to Win Your Competitor’s Customers

Staring a small business is tough, but attracting clients is tougher, and it is the only way of succeeding in today’s economy. You must find ways of expanding your customer base if you want to prosper and scale.

One of the best ways of growing your customer base is by drawing clients from your competition. But how do you do it successfully?  The trick is to offer something more or different than what your competitors offer.

Take time to research your competition and understand what helps them attract their clients.  Once you have the information, see if you can do something different to entice their customers into becoming yours.

What advertisement methods are they using? How do their ad creatives look like? What is their pricing model? Do they offer any after-sales services?

Visit their business locations as a customer and learn everything you need to know about their ways. Ask some of their customers what they like or don’t like about those companies and use the information you gather to tweak your business practices accordingly.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Today, it is almost impossible to launch and run a small business successfully without using technology. Technology provides you with numerous ways to save money, increase profits, and run your business efficiently.

Expand your market by selling your products/services online through multiple channels and optimize your business website for search engines. You can also launch email marketing campaigns and create an online customer loyalty program, offering discounts, coupons, referral bonuses, etc.

Create webinars, podcasts, and social media pages to market your small business. You can also follow successful entrepreneurs to learn how they did it.

Invest More in Your existing Clients

It costs more to acquire a new customer than maintain an existing one. This is true even at the best times. However, most people cut down on their spending during tough times, making it even harder to persuade a new customer to buy from you. So, it makes sense to invest more in your existing clients.

Strive to build long-term relationships and show them you have their back at all times. Treat them with a lot of respect and be mindful of your actions towards them. Keep in mind that the relationships your build with your customers during the tough times can lead to lifelong customer loyalty. Think of simple ways you can make a meaningful and positive impact to your clients.

Understand their pain points and objections and find a way of addressing them. Let them know that your biggest priority is to fix their concerns and do it.

You should also find ways of reaching out to past customers and re-engaging them. Keep in mind that past customers were once active customers and already know about your business. Therefore, it is much easier to re-engage them than converting prospects into new customers.

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