Survival of the Fittest
5 Quick Tips for Keeping your Virtual Business Afloat in a Troubled Economy
Let’s face it, the business marketplace is in a downward spiral. Big businesses are tightening the spending rope and only purchasing necessities. Gone are the days when companies with enormous travel budgets flew their employee’s first class across the world, paid for their lodging, and meals. Unfortunately, in today’s economy employees are lucky if they get reimbursed for their mileage.
Large companies are cutting costs every way they can: implementing hiring freezes, cutting travel budgets, pay bonuses, pay increases, using recycled paper, and the list goes on (feel free to share what your company is doing in the comments section below). Online meeting companies have experienced significant growth as more organizations choose to hold their company meetings online due to restricted or strapped travel budgets. Virtual companies should take notice and follow suit.
Here are five ways to keep your business afloat in today’s troubled economy:
- Price Increase – re-evaluate your pricing structure (product or service) – chances are you will find that there is room for you to raise your rates and still remain competitive. Do your research and strongly consider raising your rates.
- Communication Services – this is an area where many business owners pay out the most money. Evaluate how you communicate with the general public and most importantly, your clients. If the majority of your communications are via email, consider an electronic mailing list to keep clients abreast of company news or design an online intranet for staff and clients to communicate and collaborate. If a toll free number is absolutely necessary, check out affordable online services like: www.phone.com or www.ringcentral.com. Another great website to visit is: Virtual Phone System Reviews, where you can read the pros and cons of the many phone services available: http://www.virtualphonesystemreviews.com/.
- Buy Used Furnishings – Keep an eye out for companies going out of business or upgrading their office furniture and offer to purchase it. With some luck, you may find that you can have the furniture for free if you accept responsibility for moving it off the property. If you must purchase office furnishing, be sure to ask the store manager / employees for the discounted furniture section.
- Mailing / Postage – Reduce postage and overnight delivery costs as much as possible by converting your documents into PDF format (saves both you and your customers money). Conduct an online search for- free pdf converters. Incorporate video to speak to your customers directly, using free services like: Youtube.com or Vimeo.com just to name a few.
- Automate Invoicing and Billing – Design an automated invoicing and payment system for clients. Generate invoices and email to the AP/AR contact person monthly. Be sure to include a link for customers to pay their invoices using a credit card, if at all possible.
No one knows for sure just how long this economic downturn will last, but if you can manage to keep your operating costs low, while still providing top notch products and services; there is a greater chance that your business will be able to stay afloat.
Author: Victoria M. Parham, Entrepreneur, Army Spouse (Retired), Podcast Host, Online Trainer, Blogger, and Personal Growth Speaker. Connect with Victoria at www.victoriaparham.com.