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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozlimski)
Northern businesses should start planning now for their own entrepreneurial offensives to launch the day after fighting ceases, Ronen Veis, director-general of the Rishon Lezion-based Business College, told small-business owners gathered near Haifa this week.
Business owners should be thinking primarily about how to retain existing clients and recruit new ones, he said. Specifically, they should already start planning special sales and offers they can make clients, or such things as temporary extensions of opening hours and other service improvements.
They should plot out their situation, examine on what products they have made the most profit and from which types of clients, in order to know what kind of offers they can make "tomorrow morning," Veis said.
His advice came at a conference for conflict-zone business owners organized by the college and hosted free-of-charge by Isrotel's Carmel Forest resort, which brought professionals to help businessmen with branding, sales and marketing strategy, copyrighting, graphic design, printing, public relations and small business management, as well as tax advisors and lawyers. Each participant received individual counseling, culminating in a personal business strategy for bouncing back after the conflict.
"The difference between a business owner and an employee in the North is big," Veis told The Jerusalem Post. "While employees are in the shelters worrying about their lives, business owners are in the shelters worrying about their lives, as well as the life of their business and livelihoods of their employees."
Separately, the Kibbutz Industry Association's small business division on Wednesday circulated a list of recommended steps business owners should take to get through the crisis.
Entrepreneurs, it said, should openly communicate their situation to their suppliers, banks and clients in order to enlist their support and investigate solutions, as well as check with small business-oriented funds about any available grants or loans.
All developments in the business - including lost clients, unexpected expenses, bounced checks - should be documented thoroughly in order to report losses accurately, the association advised, while reminding businesses that VAT and income tax payments can be put off for now.