Small businesses form the backbone of the American economy. According to the International Data Group, in 2005, there were 8.1 million small businesses employing a total of 130 million American workers, paying as much as 44.3% of the total private-sector payroll in the U.S. In 2005, Small businesses produced more than 50% of the non-farm Gross Domestic Product in the U.S. or roughly US$6 trillion. In 2008, a study by Robert Fairle showed small business entrepreneurs generated nearly 12% of all business income in the U.S.
However, with the recession that has recently plagued the global economy, small businesses have been adversely affected. Poor sales, inflation , and limited access to credit were among the top concerns of small businesses, forcing companies to re-evaluate their business, postpone expansion plans, freeze hiring, and eventually lay-off workers. In 2008, around 3.1 million Americans lost their jobs, with nearly 1.7 million jobs lost in the 4th quarter of 2008 alone.
As an entrepreneur facing the challenges of a global recession, you must be willing to adopt unconventional tactics where conventional wisdom have all but failed. You must be willing to become a guerrilla entrepreneur.
Typically, a guerrilla is described as a small, independent, irregular unit capable of employing unconventional tactics against very specific targets with great speed, flexibility and mobility. Guerrillas hit where they are least expected. Similarly, for the small business owner, whether you sell homes, offer pet grooming services, operate a flower shop or sell life insurance, survival in the face of economic adversity require employing "outside the box" unconventional thinking that often run counter to the norms of conventional logic.
Where conventional thinking dictates that businesses spend a fortune on advertisements and sponsorships to entice a shrinking market, the guerrilla entrepreneur will target a very small, focused niche market. The guerrilla sells to individuals, building relationships one person at a time. The guerrilla entrepreneur would rather reach out and touch 10 people with a message that works than broadcast to 10,000 with an ad that has no impact or feedback.
Where the norm forces small businesses to fire employees to cut cost, the guerrilla entrepreneur sees the value of keeping his team intact, for better or for worse, endearing the employer to his employees, improving morale and consequently increasing productivity. The guerrilla knows that firing people is but a temporary quick-fix that eventually results to ill-will and bad publicity. Instead, the guerrilla trains every employee of his small business, from the toolkeeper to the corporate secretary, to be effective lead-generators and sales people, doubling his sales force at no extra cost.
While other small businesses cut back on suppliers, the guerrilla entrepreneur sees the potential of exchanging clients' lists with his suppliers, multiplying his referrals ten-fold. The guerrilla entrepreneur may even consider affiliating with suppliers, promoting their products and earning commissions or mark-ups in return.
Contrary to the norm, the guerrilla entrepreneur never sells. He builds relationships.He establishes trust with his clients. He explores his customers' needs and offers solutions to fill those needs. The guerrilla entrepreneur is passionate about benefits and operates his small business around delivering on those benefits.
The guerrilla entrepreneur never cold calls. He banks on the relationship and trust he has developed with his customers to provide him with a continuous stream of referrals and word-of-mouth promotion of his small business.
Learning from research that small businesses with websites have outsold businesses without a website, a guerrilla entrepreneur creates a website for his small business and tweaks with search engine optimization to land his website, and his small business, onto page 1 of  Yahoo! and Google Search Results. The guerrilla entrepreneur participates in on-line forums and chatrooms relevant to his small business. He is a top contributor to Yahoo!Answers, never failing to include his URL everytime he posts his answers. The guerrilla entrepreneur likewise submits informative articles to article directories, presenting himself very knowledgable and an authority in his industry.
These are but a few unconventional ways by which small businesses can stand defiant and survive the global recession. So much more can be done. Be creative. Think "outside the box". Think guerrilla.
(Same article submitted to Amazine and Ezine article directories by this blogger)

1 comment:

  1. From Reuters Nov.5 issue titled "Unemployment Relief Unlikely", I re-print here a couple of lines that emphasize my view of the importance of keeping your team intact for better or for worse. And the article says:
    "Too many businesses cut staff when they need to cut cost. Make the changes that will make the company better instead of damaging the very thing that made it successful in the first place - its employees"
    -Paul Rauseo
    Managing Director
    George S. May International Company