The economy may be improving, but the speed of the recovery may not be fast enough for many sole proprietors and small businesses. Even in the face of seriously decreased revenues, many small business owners may not relish the idea of trying to reenter the job market. Besides, the job market is not doing so great, either. The key to survival for small businesses in many situations is the ability to adapt to new market conditions and economic realities. For small businesses in New York, this might mean anything from targeting a slightly different demographic all the way to completely restructuring a business to offer a new product or service.
A few pieces of advice we could offer might be:
1. Do your research before trying anything.
2. Test the waters before making any major purchases or investments in something new.
3. Watch out for scammers who prey on struggling businesses.
4. Get the advice of a good business attorney.
Some large and venerable companies have not weathered the economic downturn well. Companies that might have already been struggling to adapt to new markets and new technologies will have a difficult time under current conditions. One example would be Kodak, which was at the forefront of photographic equipment and supplies for over a century. As digital photography grew in popularity and the demand for camera film and similar supplies dwindled, Kodak had difficulty adapting. Now it finds itself struggling financially, and it recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Small businesses and sole proprietors can face the same difficulties, with the only difference being one of scale.
Small businesses that find a way to adapt may find themselves at the forefront of a new market or new technology. Of course that scenario is by definition rare, but any company that successfully finds a way to reinvent itself will at least know it has survived where many others have not. An article in Crain’s New York Business gives the example of a New York City real estate agent who found her business decimated when the real estate bubble burst. With little demand for luxury real estate, she looked at other facets of the market she had served. She became a certified feng shui practitioner and an accredited green associate, and she began marketing her services to corporate clients. By finding a new niche that was not far from her old one, and by doing it quickly, her business grew and she continued to thrive.
Of course, trying out a new business direction is also fraught with risks. Small businesses often lack the resources to undertake a major overhaul. Business owners may try too much too soon, sinking money into untested technologies or simply spending too much on something like a new website without fully understanding it. Some types of businesses may simply lack the flexibility to adapt enough. Every business, though, should explore all of its options for adapting before it decides to throw in the towel.
The New York business attorneys at Samuel C. Berger, PC offer fixed-fee packages of legal services to businesses and entrepreneurs who want to do business in New York and northern New Jersey. To speak to a member of our skilled legal team, contact us today online or at (212) 380-8117.
More Blog Posts:
Major Downtown Newark Development Offers Opportunities for Small Businesses, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, January 12, 2012
Trends from 2011 for New Jersey Businesses, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, January 5, 2012
Harlem Wal-Mart Could Put Local Stores out of Business, Say Critics, New York & New Jersey Business Lawyer Blog, December 22, 2011
Photo credit: business timing by tanyah on stock.xchng.