According to USA Today's Steve Stauss, small businesses are in a state of unease, but he is not the only one. The National Federation of Independent Business May 2008 Small Business Economic Trends Reports shows that small business optimism is at its lowest level since the 1979 oil embargo. Also, Warrilow and Co., a savvy surveyor of the small business marketplace, found that only about 40 percent of small business owners were optimistic about their own sales and far fewer were optimistic about the economy generally (27.5 percent).

Although times are tough, there are solutions for small businesses. Warrilow & Co. recommended the following tips:
• Look for new clients - If customers are buying less, start looking for customers who can buy more.

• Spend money where it will do the most good - Cut back where you can, but spend money in areas that offer great potential for increasing sales. This includes advertising, public relations, business development, buying leads, pay-per-check and sales training.

• Increase shoestring marketing - Think creatively and determine lower cost and equal efficient ways of promoting the business.

• Treat existing clients well - Pay special attention to those customers who are loyal to you.

• Add line extensions - Adding lines can mean that when one area of the business is down, the other will be up.

• Look for government contracts - Even in down times, the government still has contracts that must be fulfilled.

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