Saturday, January 31, 2009

Boulder Small Business Fighting Effects of Recession

The Rocky Mountain news featured Colorado small businesses in the front line of recession battle. There are two businesses and their approach particularly stood out. They are, Wheatridge based Vibrant Solar and Boulder based, Boulder Ice Cream. Vibrant stands out for its marketing strategy and Boulder Ice Cream for its operational efficiency.

In times of recession it is all the more important to invest in marketing and develop customers and that is exactly what Vibrant Solar is doing:

"When things are tight, you need to work harder to find customers," said Mark Simmons, Vibrant Solar's vice president of sales and marketing. "This is the time to increase marketing costs, not decrease them."

The company has virtually doubled its marketing budget. It is mailing postcards with personalized messages to potential customers, asking them to contact the company online.

Operational efficiency is no something to achieve just for the recessionary times. It is about keeping the costs down and continuously driving them downwards to keep more of the revenue the business brings in. Boulder Ice Cream has been focused on keeping their fixed costs, costs that are incurred regardless of the sales volume, down. This helps them to manage the low sales volume without making further cuts:

Boulder Ice Cream was careful to not increase its overhead along with its sales. The company doesn't provide health or retirement benefits and uses contract workers to ramp up production during peak selling season, allowing the company to hold steady with six full-time production workers.

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