by Janet Attard
How's business? Are customers taking longer to buy, placing smaller orders, or just staying away in droves? And are they taking longer and longer to pay? Has the recession left you wondering how long you can hold onto your business – or your home, if you used your home for collateral on that business loan?

If so, it's time to stop worrying, and take a hard look at your business. Yes, to be sure, the economy is playing havoc with a lot of businesses. But many small businesses are thriving despite the recession. So, instead of resigning yourself to lower sales, and falling profits, or losses, look at your business with an open mind for ways to solve the current problems.

Now, I know you think you've already done that. But without realizing it, many small businesses are prone to shortsightedness and inertia when it comes to running their businesses. Business owners tend to think about, and do, what's familiar and what has always worked, and dismiss ideas others suggest as unworkable without trying them or seriously considering them. After all, it's easier and safer to do what you think works than try something different.

That kind of thinking, often traps small businesses. To get out of the trap, you have to look at your business with different eyes. Ask yourself and your team questions like these:

"How is this industry or type of business changing?"

"Will our current customers still need our products or services in a few years?"

"Do all of our clients know about all the products or services we sell?"

"Do we suggest additional purchases to existing customers?"

"Are there ways to market that we aren't doing now?"

"Are there things we don't sell now that would sell to our existing customers?"

"What are our competitors doing that we're not doing?"

"If we sell to consumers, could we sell the same or similar products or services to businesses?"

"Could we increase prices?"

"Could we increase business if we purchased some specific piece of equipment, applied for certification, or made some other change?"

Don't answer the above questions with a quick "Yes" or "No." Be specific. Name products and services. Make estimates for sales. Put numbers to your estimates. Then act on the changes that could make the most impact on your business.

Online reprints of this article must be left intact as written and include the author's byline, copyright and resource box in their entirety. You must get permission from the author to reproduce the article in print publications.© 2009 Attard Communications, Inc.

Author's Bio: 

Janet Attard is a small and home business expert, author and founder and CEO of the small business website. For more tips and hints on building profitable websites see
Online reprints of this article must include the author's byline, copyright and resource box. You must get permission from the author to reproduce the article in print publications.