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Top 10 Actions Small Businesses Take To Stay Competitive

“Small businesses thrive on deep customer relationships,” Byers notes. “Face time isn’t just client service. Those relationships contribute to staying educated about your market and can be the source of ideas. A conversation today can be part of your business plan tomorrow.”

#5: Keep a close eye on cash and budgets.

Many small businesses are budgeting conservatively and pocketing cash reserves as a cushion. Their caution stems from experience, as 58% say a major challenge to running the business in the past few years has been having enough cash. Most small business owners (73%) handle their own cash management and feel like they have it under control.

#6: Be involved.

Whether it’s the 51% who built a network of suppliers and partner companies around the business, or the 47% who became more active in the community and other local organizations, small business owners understand the value of investing time in the community.

#7. Be prepared.

If the economy were to face another downturn, 80% of survey respondents feel prepared to weather market weakness. In previous Citibank small business surveys, small business owners said they took actions such as reducing costs, renegotiating contracts and operating leaner.

#8: Plan ahead.

Among small business owners, 27% can predict their cash standing four to six months into the future.

“Future thinking and proactive planning is critical,” says Byers. “The enemies of long-term success can be complacency over current success or paralysis over a tough situation.”

#9: Stick with your aspirations.

Business owners bring their hopes and dreams to life when they start out, tying business to their personal sense of success. Statistically, 63% say they are living their dream and 75% would do it all over again despite the challenges.

#10: Market, market, market.

Over half (53%) have increased their own social media and online advertising in the past year; 54% invested in website improvements and search engine presence.

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