To survive in a challenging economic environment, small business owners around the world must be nimble, flexible and responsive to the realities of the marketplace.

The results of a new survey of 500 small businesses in the UK, for example, found that:

  • The original goals of 75% of their owners had changed; 17% completely changed the direction of their company.
  • 45% didn’t reach the short-term goals they had set within their initial timeframes and budgets.
  • About 64% were forced to expand their original timeframes in order to achieve their long-term goals.

The survey of small businesses with less than 100 employees and under $2.4 million in annual revenue was conducted in June 2022 by Censuswide for Iwoca, which provides financing for small businesses.

Small business owners in the U.S. know precisely what their counterparts in the UK are experiencing.

Reinventing Everything

Photo scanning service Scan My Photos discovered that their customers needed their digitized photos to be completed and returned the same day, recalled CEO Mitch Goldstone.

“This led to a change to our workflow and our goals. [We] had to reinvent everything. This included providing express same-day photo scanning and instant uploading,” he said via email.

Change Of Plans

Samantha Allonce, owner and founder of Hot N Saucy, said that their initial business plan “was to sell our hot sauces solely online and through social media. As the company grew and the demand grew, the cost of just selling directly to the consumer made less and less sense.

“In order for us to grow nationally and become the brand that we aimed to become, we would have to pivot and change our business plan to try and gain retail partners and sell in stores. We had to bring on strategic partners that could help us scale properly,” she noted in an email message.

Allonce pointed out that “… change can happen at any time, and you have to be malleable enough to embrace it. Especially in the economic climate, we are currently in; you have to be ready to make changes that benefit your business at any given time. Only you know your business and what it takes to run it, so only you are going to be able to make the call of what it needs and when.”

Staying Viable

Sara Alshamsi, founder and COO of toy maker Big Heart Toys, said in a statement,” We’ve definitely had to change our business goals in order to stay viable in this market. We wanted to be able to offer our products online to be purchased by schools, therapy centers, and families all over the country, but we quickly discovered that avenue alone was not enough to sustain us.

“While we still utilize an online store to offer our products to a global market, the bulk of our business is now within our local community,” she said.

“We had to get creative, marketing directly to local schools, daycares, and therapy centers to stock their shelves with our toys for neurodiverse minds. We felt that keeping our products available to learners was far more important than the logistics of how we market and distribute, and we’re still happy to serve the community, even if we had to deviate from our initial, ambitious plans,” Alshamsi observed.

“Perhaps, as online demand grows in the future we can reignite our plans for our online store,” she concluded.

Readying For A Recession

The challenges small business owners have faced will likely increase if fears of a recession become a reality.

As I reported earlier this month, a new survey showed how small businesses in the U.S. are preparing for a recession. Their actions include:

  • Scaling back expansion plans (16.7%)
  • Reducing their workforce (7.2%)
  • Downsizing retail or office space (5.4%)
  • Cutting services (4.5%)

The survey was conducted by payment platform Veem May 31 through June 8, 2022 via Survey Monkey. The margin of error was +4/-4%.

By AKDSEO