Shared from the 1/8/2019 American Press eEdition

Guest Columnist

Is your business ready to survive?

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Small businesses face danger every day. Just as individuals deal with layoffs and temporary work stoppages, a small business must be ready to deal with similar difficulties. Keeping the doors open is always a challenge. Here are four common danger scenarios.

Losing a big customer.

Losing a major customer can crash a small business. The big buyer may close a facility, might choose a different vendor or face difficulties such as loss of an owner. Sales may depend on the employees of a nearby facility; what happens if the operation shuts down? If the bulk of a company’s revenues hinge upon the lost customer, the small business may not survive without that income. Smart managers review their customer mix and avoid relying too heavily on sales to one company.

Road construction. Road construction can prevent customers from reaching a business location. Municipalities do their best to keep traffic flowing but a business may find that its customers do not want to deal with delays and inconveniences. Online sales or special delivery services so that customers do not have to visit the store can boost income and improve survival odds.

Embezzlement. No business owner wants to think that an employee would steal from the company. However, most embezzlement occurs at small businesses and the offender is usually someone who is trusted by the owner. Having checks and balances will often eliminate the opportunity for someone to steal and have the theft go unnoticed. Balancing checkbooks and reviewing accounts payable are tedious tasks but owners are wise to verify these documents themselves.

Cybercrime. Ordering inventory online, checking finances, communicating with customers and accepting customer payments are common electronic transactions for a small business. Digital thieves can take advantage of vulnerabilities and steal data, hack into bank accounts and hold computers for ransom. Recovering from cybercrime can be very expensive and difficult. A cyberinsurance policy, effective software and good training for employees can reduce exposure to this business danger.

Let the consultants at the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese State University help you with the difficulties of running your small business. For 35 years, the LSBDC at McNeese has worked with entrepreneurs and business owners who are looking to start or grow their small business. Visit www. lsbdc.org/msu to learn more about us. For no-cost assistance with your business, call 337-475-5529.

Donna Little is the director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese State University. Contact her at 475-5945 or dlittle@lsbdc.org.

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and Louisiana Department of Economic Development. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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