Small Business Agility Key to Recession Survival

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The ability of small business to change quickly to meet customer needs and deliver relevant messages gives them advantages over the behemoths of big business during recessions, according to a small business marketing and brand expert. Being aware gives small business opportunities to survive and even grow.

In the midst of North American auto plants' cries for bail-outs and a financial sector still reeling from the meltdown, small business' ability to be agile and change with the times will be the driving factor of recession survival and recovery, according to Wendy MacQueen, small business marketing and brand expert.

"Survival is based on continuing to be valuable to your customers and making sure they are still in conversation with you," Ms MacQueen explained. "So many businesses, large and small, cut their marketing budgets out of recession fear or actual drops in sales revenue. Unfortunately, if you stop communicating with them, they stop buying from you."

Not being relevant and valuable to their customers has been recognized as one of the issues for the North American automakers. Their continued creation of gas-munching vehicles and stall tactics on producing alternative fuel options has now left them in a state of near bankruptcy without government aid.

"And one of their biggest problems, and the same can be said of most big business, is that they are behemoths -- they can't change on a dime," MacQueen added. "They have chains of command miles long, so quick decisions, quick changes, just can't happen."

Small business benefits from the ability to change direction without invoking several approval levels. They also benefit, states MacQueen, from having the top-tier approvers closer to the actual customer.

"The president of General Motors probably didn't hang out with the customers considering their products. If he did, he would have known there were problems a long time ago," she said. "Small business owners need to be in constant contact with their customers and really hear what they are saying."

Big business can't even change their marketing tactics quickly, and in recessionary times having creative, useful marketing is a key to keeping customers engaged with your business.

"Marketing messages can rarely stay the same between times when people are flush with money and times when money is tight," MacQueen explained. "Small business can change their messages quickly, fine-tune how they are delivering those messages, cut out the spill and really get them targeted."

Smart small business has the opportunity to drive the economy like never before through truly targeted messaging and reacting to their customer needs.

Wendy MacQueen has 25 years experience in marketing and branding for big and small business. She is a multiple award winner and owner of Mormac Brand Re-engineering, specialists in small business marketing communications -- http://www.mormac.ca.

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