While the Washing Monument has re-opened, the government shutdown’s ripple effect can still be felt across our country.  According to the rating agency Standard and Poor’s, the shutdown took at least $4 billion out of the US economy.

The recent government shutdown won’t be the last, expect another in the next year.  Even if you weren’t affected by the shutdown there are some lessons to be learned from the small businesses that were.

1.  Grow your market.

Any business is more competitive and less susceptible to risk if it is selling in more than one market.  Small businesses are never too small to think outside of their current market.  For example, if your own a construction business and your entire business is centered around a single town.  If the market turns in that town and you are not established in other geographic areas then your company could suffer.

Spreading your business to multiple markets allows you to increase your brand footprint and have somewhere to turn if a single market financial situation becomes less rosy.

2. Reprioritize

If one segment makes up the majority of your company’s business then you are in danger of the downfalls of that specific market.  If you are a tool & die company and the majority of your company’s business comes from creating die castings for the automotive industry and the auto industry takes a turn for the worse.  A responsible action to take would be to break into creating machine parts for other industrial products such as fans and agriculture equipment.

3.  Be resourceful

There are a lot of opportunities out there for small businesses to grow.  Many small business owners freak out when there is a downturn, but you could take it as an opportunity to get leaner and move into other markets or expand your product lines.

4.  Be creative

A little creativity can go a long way.  If loyalty programs, refer-a-friend or late-night or weekend-only offers are effective for a small business, they can be made to sound very timely to fit the current market situation.

5. Help each other

You may not realize it, but small business owners are part of a large community of entrepreneurs.  Supporting and lending expertise to other small business owners can create lasting relationships that can help business owners weather storms in the future.

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