Top 10 Perks of Starting a Business in a Down Economy
Middleburg, Va. - Internationally known entrepreneur and small business expert, Peter Justen, offers tips for start up small businesses. "Many people think that starting a new business in a slowing economy doesn't make sense, but for many businesses, there are advantages," Justen explains. Justen is president and chief executive officer of MyBizHomepage (www.MyBizHomepage.com), a web-based small business which assists small and emerging businesses, free of charge, to most efficiently keep track of their bottom line. Justen offers the following suggestions to start-ups:
1. Heavily negotiate the lease. Real estate is slowing in most regions of the country which allows for small businesses to get retail, office and warehouse space at reduced costs. "Do your homework," Justen advises, "and study the past rental rates and current market conditions before you negotiate." In a tight economy, it's also easier to negotiate for landlord build-outs, signage, and parking.
2. Find great used furniture/fixtures, office equipment. Take advantage of the many companies who ramp up too fast and find themselves with offices of new furniture and equipment to sell at a fraction of what they paid. This is a great time to negotiate copiers, fax machines and computer equipment.
3. Capitalize on less business competition. When the economy tightens, fewer people are likely to start businesses. This means that you can do a competitive regional analysis and know that your niche is protected, for a while at least. Grand openings, ribbon cuttings and ground breakings are likely to get a lot more media and general attention.
4. Make the most of less advertising competition and reduced rates. When you spend money to advertise your new company, you'll have greater visibility since there are fewer companies advertising in a slow economy. You should also be able to negotiate advertising rates.
5. Benefit from reduced marketing costs. In a down economy, writers, designers, and agencies are often looking for work and are able to offer reduced rates.
6. Pursue available media coverage. Local press will be more likely to cover a start-up when it's one of just a few. When business slows down, it's more difficult for reporters to find good stories. Send story ideas and pitches to your local business reporters.
7. Take advantage of greater loan availability. With fewer start-ups there are fewer companies vying for start-up loans from banks and Small Business Administration grants. While a tighter economy means tighter lending too, less competition should make it easier to get money from lending institutions, assuming you have stellar credit.
8. Scout out bank rates and services. Shop your local banks for the best rates and services. You can often negotiate lower interest credit cards and corporate accounts.
9. Profit from an enhanced employment pool. In tough times, businesses lay off good employees who are often willing to accept pay cuts for employment with a company that offers other benefits--improved commute, improved lifestyle, interesting work, etc.
10. Network harder than ever. All start-ups require hours of long, hard work. A down economy is no exception--quite the opposite. The advantage though, as one of only a small number of start-ups, use this period of downturn to get out and network with all of the companies and executives who can be mutually beneficial to your business. You have a window to take advantage of the down time and fully maximize your efforts. For instance, in a slow economy, you may find that executives, bank officers, etc. you wouldn't normally have access to are attending local chamber breakfasts and business receptions. Use this to your full advantage.
MyBizHomepage.com is also a great tool for start-ups and small business. It provides companies an easy-to-use dashboard look at their financials. Designed specifically for small companies, it provides business owners with a comprehensive view of their business-critical financial information in real time and in plain English. The company's proprietary technology simply extracts data from the business owner's QuickBooks software, and pushes that data to their desktop via a web browser. The data then appears in an easy-to-customize graphic "financial dashboard" which displays easy-to-understand key financial metrics.
If the user does not have QuickBooks, MyBizHomepage will provide them with a complimentary copy of QuickBooks Simple Start for their use.
Launched in 2006, MyBizHomepage has grown rapidly and is presently assisting businesses in 42 countries track their bottom lines, an accomplishment the company hopes to build upon through its participation with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
"Launching a small business is not unlike taking a voyage on stormy seas," says Justen. "The financial information we bring to the surface for the small business owner serves to make the trip a little calmer by pointing out the largest and most easily-avoidable waves."
MyBizHomepage is a free, web-based service that provides easy to use financial analytics and other information to help small and emerging businesses run more smoothly and profitably. The site (www.mybizhomepage.com) gives entrepreneurs and small business owners a comprehensive view of their business-critical financial information in real time and in plain English, empowering them to understand more of their own business.
The Company's proprietary software synchronizes with and extracts data from the user's QuickBooks software, whether it's entered by them or their accountant, and then pushes that data to their desktop in an easy-to-understand, easy-to-customize graphic "financial dashboard," displayed alongside Google search, news updates, calendar and other information as the default start page for Internet Explorer. If the user does not have QuickBooks, MyBizHomepage provides them with a complimentary copy of QuickBooks Simple Start for their use.
Launched in 2006, MyBizHomepage is now used by entrepreneurs and small businesses across a variety of industries in 42 countries.