I’ve been thinking a lot the past few weeks about the economy. I know I’m not alone. Lots of people are–for better or for worse, our economy is somewhat dependent upon the States, and the downturn in their economy affects us. Everybody is talking about the “r-word.”
So, as the owner(s) of a small, arts-based business, what do we do?
First off, I think small businesses are in a much better place than large corporations in a time of economic
instability. We have the ability to react faster to belt-tightening. Reigning in our expenses, taking on more hours ourselves, waiting a little longer for expansion are all things that we can do without too much difficulty.
Second, because we have the ability to react faster, we can more easily afford to take a ‘wait and see’ attitude. For me, at this point, I have contracts that go through to the end of the theatre season. I am unsure about next year’s theatre season, but I know I have work at least for the next few months. If I find that offers are slow coming in for next season, I can change my strategy.
Third, this is an opportunity to get creative. Try to avoid cutting your prices if you can. Instead, try to get your clients to look at things in a different way. Part of the problem of a recession is that the first thing to go are things that are considered ‘frills’ or ‘luxuries’, and often art fits into that category. Is there some way that you can reframe your product or service so that it becomes something necessary? For example, I think that if someone is producing a show, they need to hire a publicist to help them get the word out so that they can recoup their investment.
There are other ways to attract business without cutting your price. Think about ‘value added’ options–things that you can add on to your product or service, that are like a little bonus. Or consider bundling.
Finally, don’t panic. This is not the time to be running around yelling “the sky is falling! the sky is falling!” Take a deep breath, make a plan, have faith in your abilities, and go for it.
Check out this excellent article in The Report on Business.