Bulletproofing Your Company in Today's Economy
Follow the money to grow your business Â go local for liquidity, tap the newly empowered public sector for Federal and State contracts, and ride the green business tide. These are three of 5 key strategies Â described below - to help women's businesses survive and thrive over the next 6-12 months Â presented to over 400 women's business enterprises at the Women's Business Enterprise National Council Women in Business 2009 Conference and Business Fair this week in San Francisco.
Bulletproofing Your Company in Today's Economy, featured strategies from the 40th Treasurer of the U.S. Mary Ellen Withrow; Ann M. Sullivan, President of Madison Services Group and lobbyist for Women Impacting Public Policy; Elizabeth J. Mackay, Bureau of Securities Deputy Director for the Division of Consumer Affairs, State of New Jersey; and Emily Saab Messerschmitt, President & COO, The Fig Group LLC.
1) In an economy when Cash is King, go local to get money. Community banks didn't get TARP funding and have more liquidity than the major banks; and they are profiting from the spread between the cost of money and their loan rates. "Let your community bank know that you are aware they have a margin, and ask for a loan," Sullivan said.
2) Embrace big government to get bigger business. "When the private sector is roaring, the public sector takes back stage. Now it's the government that has the money and you have to follow the money and seek out Federal and state contracts," she added.
Invite your Congressperson to visit your business Â they're often very interested in meeting women's businesses. Post a photo of the visit on your website and get instant credibility.
3) Be patient and take the long view. While Mary Ellen Winthrow believes that the economy is promising, she advised "We knew it wasn't going to be easy Â this is going to take time and effort and we all need to have patience," she said.
4) Who's getting the Stimulus money? Environmental sustainability is one of the biggest trends in business today Â from weather to research to the Department of Energy, there are. Figure how to serve that business and help your clients contribute to the environment. "The Obama Administration is creating a sustainable alternative fuel industry," Sullivan said. "Figure out how you and your clients can be a part of it."
5) Acquire and Collaborate. Consider using your cash to expand through acquisition. "This is an opportunity to reposition your business. Focus on what you do best and look at competitors' who can augment your business, said Emily Saab Messerschmitt, President & COO, The Fig Group LLC to see what they are doing and how you can do it better.
"We are starting to see a tentative stabilization of the economy. Now is the time to be a 'value investor' in acquiring other businesses," said Elizabeth J. Mackay, Bureau of Securities Deputy Director for the Division of Consumer Affairs, State of New Jersey.
Other tips: American's Recovery Capital Loan Program lets small business owners get a bridge loan up to $30,000, which can be paid back over 12 months, through the Small Business Administration.
To learn more about WBENC Women in Business 2009 Conference and Business Fair, contact Lynthia Romney 914-589-2140.