Over There, Right Here – Should We Worry?

If you are like most small business owners in Hawaii, you follow what’s happening in Washington, D.C., but feel somewhat removed from it. It is, after all, “over there”, and we are as far away from over there as possible.

That said, the recent craziness in our nation’s capital does affect us. The ebb and flow of the global economy certainly can affect our investments and our local economy. A U.S. recession inevitably causes a global recession, which affects tourism and investment in Hawaii.

But, should we be overly concerned with what happens over there?

I argue for caution, but at the same time, I look at where my efforts can change the trajectory of my business. What can I do every day that will allow Kona Impact to zig when the economy is zagging? Or, how can I be less affected by the inevitable downturns in our economy?

I have more power over my business than any politician in Washington, D.C. I am the pilot of my business, and the local and national economy are just headwinds or tailwinds. I cannot change them, but I can certainly have a big impact on my business by changing some of my everyday habits.

headwinds

Here are five things businesses can do to survive, if not thrive, during a chaotic economy:

  1. Focus on existing customers. Reach out to these through email, a phone call or a letter and make sure they know the full range of your services, and that you value them as a customer.
  2. Add to your products and services. If you haven’t traditionally done repairs or maintenance, consider adding repair services. Can you add some equipment that might allow you to offer something new, something that doesn’t exist in the market now? Can you become the distributor for a Mainland or international supplier? How about adding consulting services?
  3. Invest in marketing. There are always opportunities to find new customers. Get creative and find them!
  4. Look for any waste in your business. Are there any subscriptions for services or products you no longer need? Is your office lighting using low energy LEDs? (We saved about $600/year, by replacing our lighting.) Is there staff that needs to be re-tasked or re-trained? Look at every expense and get rid of the non-essential fluff.
  5. Grow your understanding. If you don’t really understand your company’s finances, get a few books on accounting and figure it out. If you’re not very good at providing feedback to your employees, seek out some knowledge and new approaches. Figure out how to do routine maintenance on your vehicles, and you might save thousands of dollars a year. Looking for ideas on online marketing? There are tons of books, audiobooks, and websites that can help you figure out new directions.

Like many, I find it hard to watch the news these days. There is a lot of things that distress me as a business owner: reckless spending at the national, state and county level, taxes, regulations, education, America’s role in the world, and much, much more. Because of this, I mostly avoid the news. Instead, I have worked hard to work within the area the I control.


Kona Impact LLC  75-5599 Luhia Street, E-7, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 808-329-6077