So, let us give you some background: On October 1, 2013, the government shut down its activity leaving non-essential government services and employees blowing in the wind. According to the Washington Post, those agencies and workers considered “essential or critical supporting protection of life or property” were the only staff required to report to work. All others were to sit back and wait for congress to pass some sort of budget. Of course, while the shutdown was taking place, there was no access to small business loans, training, counseling, or contracting services. In fact, this shutdown may have very well put some small businesses out of business.
So, now that the congress has provided some type of temporary stopgap measure, have you thought about how their inactivity may have affected your business? Are you look for some sort of lifeline or answers in the tealeaves to get your business back on track? Well before you go any further, here are a few things your small business should consider:
- Business Continuity Planning: Although most small businesses have kicked in with their business continuity plans and have prepared for times likes this, some have not. For those businesses that have not, now is a good time to make sure you have one. You need to start designing yours today! Of course, not for the purpose of the current conditions, but according to FEMA, 75% of business that did not have a business continuity plan failed within 3 years. That means the 25% of businesses who already have one in place have a good chance of surviving. That statistic alone should be reason enough to ensure your business has a continuity plan in place.
2. Hiring: Although now seems like a time when businesses should be more cognizant of their expenditures, looking for good talent should always be part of your tactical business expansion plans. Good talent is hard to come by. After speaking with one local area small business, they had actually scheduled interviews during the shutdown. Thinking proactively is the name of the game in business.
3. Good Housekeeping: Take this opportunity to look at those business infrastructure tasks you have put on the back burner for way too long. There is no time like the present, right? You should make it a practice to revisit your commercial and government contracts to guarantee your obligations and rights during a crisis like this. Anticipate inventory of your contract items to ensure there will be no further delays due to scope changes, changes to place of performance, or modifications to contract funding payments once the shutdown ended. Also, consider how your staff will work in times like this. In fact, one small business said while the government was shutdown they recommended their employees either take vacation or take some professional training courses. If you have the ability, start examining your organization’s retention efforts to ensure you can gain a competitive advantage.
Small businesses have a unique challenge of trying to balance growth during uncertain market constraints and keeping the doors open. Therefore, take the time to re-evaluate and focus internally on your business efforts. They may prove to be the best time of your business’s life. For, those organizations focusing inward, tackling business tasks, and charting their next course, ultimately end up stronger after times like this.
Article Written by: Tami Mullen, Managing Partner of nTuitive nGen
nTuitive nGen a local woman-owned small business located in College Park, MD empowers, builds, and grows small business through government contracting. Check them out at www.ntuitively.com .
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