Survive & Thrive: 4 Tips for Small Business Owners in Tough Times
By Russ Kuhn, MAML University Development Counselor
Grand Canyon University, Medford
The coach is in
“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

That famous quote from Robert Schuller captures the motivation small business owners need to not only survive, but to thrive in the midst of challenges. Whether you want to maintain your current business size, or you’re looking to scale and expand, there are bound to be struggles along the road to success. You have to be able to rise above them in order to stand out among the other 28.8 million small businesses in our country.
But first, let’s back up. Why do so many small businesses struggle to make it? Although there can be a wide range of roadblocks and obstacles when it comes to running a business, cash flow problems are cited as the top reason small businesses fail. Other reasons include a lack of market need, the wrong team and too much competition. It’s important to have a strong mission and strategic plan in place to avoid potential issues like those as you grow your business. Of course, some problems or situations – like a recession – don’t have such an easy answer. That’s when you need guidance and inspiration to keep pushing forward. If you’re looking for a better way to face your business challenges, take the following four tips to heart:
Be Proactive: If you see a problem on the horizon, take action! That may mean doing something you don’t want to do – like simplifying your menu or offering product discounts – but moving forward is better than standing still. It’s important to switch things up to stay relevant and be prepared in our ever-advancing culture. Alibaba founder Jack Ma recommends: “Repair the roof while there is still sunshine.”
About the Author:
Russ Kuhn is a University Development Counselor at Grand Canyon University. Kuhn brings more than 30 years of global leadership experience to the Rogue Valley as the Medford-based UDC. He serves as the local face and brand ambassador to support GCU’s mission and help students start their educational journey.

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Cut Costs: Lowering your overhead and crafting a lean business model can help you survive a range of unfortunate scenarios. Take a hard look at your expenses and where you can cut back. Technology is helpful here – you can invest in accounting automation tools, for example, that will save you time and money. You can also decrease your marketing budget and still make a big impact thanks to social media, blogging and strategic SEO. Prioritize your Customers: It can be easy to forget about your existing customers when you’re fighting to bring in new business and make ends meet. But a negative or stressed mood isn’t beneficial for anyone in tough times. Instead, you should celebrate the loyal customers you have and ask them for help! They can provide encouragement and contribute by way of word-of-mouth marketing, reviews and more. Strengthen your Support: As a member of the Medford Chamber of Commerce, you have already begun to build a local support structure. To maximize your support, become active in the chamber and leverage all of the tools our chamber offers. In addition to the chamber, it’s always helpful to reach out to mentors, join local small business groups, engage with your community and build an online following. All of these steps can bolster your business and your mood in tough times. Networking is an important component of building a business support system – in good times and in bad. As this Inc. article says: “There are two types of business – those that have had tough times and those that are going to have tough times.” The real test is how you respond when you’re struggling. Are you ready to take action, cut costs, prioritize your customers and strengthen your support?
April: National Small Business Month
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