When inflation is in the news, the focus is frequently on its effect on the cost of consumer products, and with cause. Inflationary pressures attack people where it hurts the most – their wallets.
However, small business owners and operators must also cope with inflation’s effects, and as inflation continues to be a significant cost driver, their already-tight margins grow much tighter.
Small business owners sometimes confront the conundrum of maintaining customers while increasing the prices of their products and services when supply chains contract. According to the National Federation of Independent Firms, small businesses began increasing prices in 2022 in order to pass on increased inventory, supply, and labor expenses.
While this strategy may help slow inflation in the short term, small firms should focus significantly more on long-term cost rises and other difficulties.
Owners consider multiple variables and tactics when determining how to position the business to combat inflation.
The Stranglehold of Inflation Is Not Disappearing
While inflation may moderate slightly in 2022, it is projected to remain a source of concern. When combined with a still-tight labor market and anticipated Fed rate hikes, small firms will need to brace for narrower margins.
Numerous small businesses are responding by increasing prices to keep up with cost increases for their goods and services, but they are doing so to remain competitive in today’s market.
Experts suggest they broaden their projections beyond the immediate future.
Small business owners and operators should forecast price rises six months in advance to cover the cost of items sold in order to protect their profits.
Again, even if inflation moderates over the next several months, other market forces may maintain the supply chain congested and, as a result, prices higher than pre-pandemic levels.
Concentrate Efforts on Customer Relationships
Meanwhile, both B2B and B2C clients are experiencing the effects of inflation, and some may be encountering similar issues, whether it’s rising food and household item prices or their own labor shortages and supply chain concerns.
Throughout the pandemic, communities rallied around their small businesses, financially supporting them with a true “buy local” ethos.
Maintain price transparency with customers and provide incentives for them to continue purchasing local products or services.
Throughout the epidemic, numerous small businesses cooperated with other local enterprises to supply mutually beneficial products and services. Consider reinstating current arrangements or developing new ones to help partner firms combat rising costs while increasing revenue.
Finally, make an appointment with a banker. Whether a business requires a short-term cash infusion or is able to expand its offerings, it’s always a good idea to check in and reassess finances, look for favorable loan options to reinvest in the business, secure additional operating capital, purchase new equipment, or acquire property that can also generate new revenue streams.