Launching a Business in a Tailspin Economy

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With the economy in a slump, new business can be risky business.  Yet in spite of the uncertainty, many women feel cautiously optimistic about their business opportunities.  About 58 percent of women business owners polled in the  October 2008 Business Risk Survey expect revenues to grow in 2009.

What can be done to minimize risk in a down economy?

Karin Abarbanel, co-author of Birthing the Elephant, a new guide for women launching a business, stated in a recent interview:

“Businesses fail in a thriving economy, and businesses succeed in a down economy…The real key to beating the odds, which are daunting whether the economy is up or down, is a lean launch strategy that allows you to proceed economically and substitute brains for bucks.” 

If you want to launch a business in a tailspin economy, make sure you define your niche clearly and keep these things in mind:

1. In a down economy, customers become more discriminating and only buy products which meet their needs spot-on.  Businesses that provide exactly what customers want when they want it will hold market share throughout a downturn.

2. A lean launch is key.   To meet customer needs with minimal capital investment, small businesses are increasingly moving to a variable cost business model which means less up-front capital to get started.  Outsourcing, cooperative worksites, contract manufacturers, cloud computing, and infrastructure servicing companies like FEDEX allow small businesses to design, produce and deliver products on a variable cost basis, with little or no fixed cost investment. This lowers the bar for market entry and reduces the financial risk of starting a new business.

3. The Internet enables customers and niche providers of goods and services to find each other.  Use the web and think findability:  how can your customers find you and your niche products?  Expand your online presence beyond your company website and make it easy for customers to buy what you sell.

Posted by:  Carolyn Ockels

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