May 3, 2009
Businesses Get Creative During RecessionBy APTheDenverChannel.com

Colorado Springs, Colo. — Davin Neubacher could have panicked when his business revenue nose-dived in the fourth quarter of 2008, from 20 percent growth to 7 percent.

“You can either throw up your hands or learn and adjust,” said Neubacher, who owns Navakai, an information-technology support company that opened in 2001.

Neubacher didn’t lay off staff or downsize or adopt a self-defeatist attitude. Instead, he said, he listened to what his 650 corporate clients and 11 employees wanted and set a new course.

Many small-business owners have been fearful and unsure of what — if anything — to do during the nation’s recession. As they’ve seen revenue shrink and expenses balloon, seemingly strong companies struggle and fold, and unemployment grow, some have developed new strategies to move beyond survival and thrive.

Whether it’s taking advantage of the competition going under, trying a new way of doing business or introducing a different concept to the market, many are getting creative and taking risks. What they’re doing, they say, is working.

Neubacher explored how he could deliver his product — computer support — more effectively with less money going out the door. He figured out how to automate his system and remotely fix thousands of computers to save time, fuel and manpower.

He also renegotiated his office lease in downtown Colorado Springs to lower the monthly rent and delayed major capital purchases that weren’t critical.

And as Neubacher watched a cleansing of the industry, with several of his competitors going out of business — or shedding staff to the point that it hurt their service and reputation — he worked on gaining the customers they left behind.

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