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Crisis Survival Kit: 5 Ways To Prevent Being Bought Out

Right now, business owners are focused on keeping the doors open and rightly so given the business climate. But in the scramble to keep a business afloat, it's easy to overlook another threat -- acquisition from competitors with deeper pockets.
Right now, business owners are focused on keeping the doors open and rightly so given the business climate. But in the scramble to keep a business afloat, it's easy to overlook another threat -- acquisition from competitors with deeper pockets.In tough economic times, the business survival rate is almost certain to decline and the canaries in the metaphorical coal mine are owners of small and midsize businesses without a wealth of resources to tide them over until the pendulum reverses course. But forget about going under for a moment -- what about getting bought? Think it can't happen to you? Neither did Bear Stearns or WaMu all that long ago.

By strengthening your businesses in some key areas, business owners can lessen the chances of getting snapped up by a larger competitor -- or be in a better position to dictate the terms of the acquisition. Smart Online CEO Dave Colburn, a small business expert, recently suggested five methods specifically for small business owners to "cast a larger shadow" and strengthen their position against acquisition, aspects of which can be applied by midsize business owners and managers as well.

  1. Create a business network -- Bundling products/services with those of another business may help the "little guys" compete with larger businesses at a lower price to their customer. Sharing customers can allow them to reach a larger market.
  2. Don't disappear -- While it might be necessary to cut spending in the marketing department disappearing totally is not the way to go. Instead, be more strategic by choosing select advertising and sponsorship opportunities that speak directly to your customer base. By making them aware of your intent to advertise exclusively in their space and buying in advance, more times than not, will yield better rates.
  3. Don't sacrifice quality -- Layoffs during an economic downturn can be unavoidable but if it is necessary to downsize the quality of the product or service shouldn't suffer. Maintaining reputation will cost less than rebuilding it in the long run.
  4. Take advantage of available resources -- The Internet is a powerful and cost effective tool to help businesses communicate with their current and potential client base. Take advantage of networking sites to reach a larger audience. Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter can effectively send your message directly to the customer.
  5. Pay attention to your business -- This isn't a good time to let the little things fall through. Pay bills on time, set up bill reminders, and guarantee that your business can still afford its office expenses. Also- pay close attention to legal regulations that may affect your business. What's going on in Wall Street could affect you in the long run, pay attention to the news and make sure you are in compliance with employee regulations especially.

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