Capital Solutions: Productive Alternatives to SpendingBy: Alvin Apple
It's been a little over two months since the terror attacks of 9/11, and it still feels a little surreal. Even with the U.S. forces doing as well as they are in Afghanistan, there is still a sense of sadness and insecurity, and this has affected our economy. Business is slow, and I believe that as American businesspeople we have a duty to do everything we can to help shore up the financial state of our country. With less business creating lower incomes, however, it seems like a difficult to impossible task. So how do we do it?
The key here is to get away from the idea of spending money as a necessity to boost the economy. There are several things we can do to stay in business and to help others stay in business without spending capital we don't have.
First, trade goods and services. The barter system has worked for centuries, and it can still work today. I'm sure that you know several business people who offer something you need, and who could probably use something you offer. Maybe you clean carpets and you have a friend who runs a copy center. How about
offering to clean the carpets of your friend's shop in exchange for a run of flyers advertising your business. Whatever you do, there must be someone you know who could use your service, and who just might offer a service you need.
Second, offer lower prices. Wait, hear me out! With business down you may be thinking, "How can I lower prices if I don't have any business?" Well, maybe those lower prices are just what you need to bring in some customers. Use those flyers you bartered for to advertise a 20% off recession special, and you may find your phone ringing again. Someone who couldn't spend $100 can maybe spend $80, and cheaper business is better than no business, right?
Third, use your downtime to improve your operation. When we're busy, it's really easy to let the day to day things fall by the wayside. Little maintenance projects may be sitting on your desk, half-finished, buried under invoices and trade papers. Dig them out. Clean house and have your employees (if any) do the same. Go through your desk and get rid of anything that isn't pertinent. Catch up on customer correspondence. Write an article or two to submit to business journals about your business. Basically, make sure that your business is running at maximum efficiency for that time when customers start calling again.
So you see, without spending much money, we can really start to improve things. With a little faith and a little creativity, we can make it through these troubled times.
© Copyright 2001 Alvin Apple
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