If you believe some of the business surveys and media headlines going around right now, it’s doom and gloom in the small business world at the moment. It’s like we’re experiencing the delayed effects of the GFC. I’m hearing of businesses downsizing or, in some cases, closing.
As regular readers will know, my business the Sydney Writers’ Centre reached our sixth birthday last week, and have just expanded our team. So I was inspired to write this week’s Enterprise post on “How to ride out the tough times”.
This month, I hit a milestone in my own business. We turned six. It’s not a “significant” birthday – that is, we haven’t gotten past the seven-year itch or the eight-lucky-years in business. Nor have we reached the big 10-year anniversary so that we can break out the French champagne just yet. But considering the gloom and uncertainty that seems to be plaguing some areas of the small business community, I felt that that reaching our sixth birthday warranted some reflection on how we’ve lasted this long in an environment where many small businesses fail.
If you believe recent small business surveys, it’s not pretty in the entrepreneurial space at the moment. For example, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s recent Small Business Survey (August 2011 results) found that “general small business trading conditions and confidence have continued to deteriorate” and “highlighted the increasing unevenness in Australia’s economic growth since the global financial crisis, with a widening divergence of business conditions experienced by small and larger businesses”.
Anecdotally, I’m hearing countless stories of businesses that are downsizing – specifically, letting go of staff or moving to smaller premises – as they try to ride out tough times. Yesterday, my friend spoke about the 3pm dread she feels in the pit of her stomach each Sunday because she knows she has to got to work the next day. Her employer is not doing so well and it’s affecting staff morale.
On the other hand, in my own business, we’ve recently expanded our team and have big plans for 2012.
So what does it take to survive and thrive in a tough environment?
You can read the full article here.