Various strategies for cost control will be helpful for most small businesses trying to cope with reduced sales volume. Business planning and consulting are likely to be among the most effective alternatives to help small business owners deal with recent distressed financial conditions.
The need for new business planning tools is rarely a high priority for a company that is not experiencing one or more substantial problems. However even for the most healthy business, contingency plans are advisable. The value of contingency planning for business financing is sharply illustrated by recent examples of banks suddenly eliminating commercial loan programs with little or no advance notice. The level of chaos that currently prevails throughout commercial banking unfortunately means that changes can continue to occur with little warning.
Business consulting will often not be thoroughly considered by small businesses because of the potential cost. As with any any other corporate service, costs cannot be ignored. This is particularly true in the current economic environment because very few businesses have substantial discretionary funds to cover new business expenses. Nevertheless it will sometimes be necessary to spend some money in order to either make money or reduce costs.
The growing need for business consulting and management tools is supported by the disturbing number of changes which have occurred throughout the business world recently. To adequately address many of the complicated changes impacting small business loans and working capital financing, most business owners will not have enough technical skills or information. Many banks have imposed significant fee increases for their commercial finance services, and finding effective (and less costly) alternative business funding services will prove difficult for even the most skilled borrower. While there are some viable business finance options to replace traditional bank financing, these alternatives can seem confusing simply because they are new and different approaches.
Whenever there are complex problems, there are rarely simple solutions. The current difficulties for small business owners are a growing challenge. Similar circumstances have not been seen during the past fifty or more years for most businesses. As a result, even a highly experienced business owner is likely to be missing enough direct experience to make it through the maze of current changes and problems without at least some outside help.
It is likely that the most effective (and realistic) business planning tools will actually be a combination of several approaches undertaken with a coordinated effort. As noted above, complicated problems will usually require complex solutions. This will often translate to a series of business management and planning maneuvers that can take a number of months or even several years to complete. Small business owners should generally avoid any business consulting expert that portrays the problem-solving process as quick and easy.