Four to five years ago, Florida saw the better half of the real estate boom. With the housing market roaring and the baby boomer generation retiring to warmer climates, real estate prices soared in the Sunshine State. Local markets restructured around the rising property value, and new businesses servicing the real estate service sector sprung up.
Needless to say, Florida also saw the worst half of the recent mortgage meltdown and asset deflation. Entire real estate brokerage and development operations shut down. And while these real estate centric industries have received the brunt of the blow, most small businesses in the service sector have experienced waning sales.
To top it off, the deepening recession on the horizon poses more challenges for the Florida economy. To survive the storm, small business owners in these markets must act fast and manage fixed costs better. Lowering phone bills can save business owners a quick buck. Changing phone plans from traditional fixed cost plans to VOIP based can significantly lower monthly costs.
Retail businesses should explore lowering transaction costs. For example, Amex credit card transactions cost establishments around 3 percent. Some banks only charge 1.5 percent on the transaction, translating to a $1500 monthly savings for businesses generating $100,000 a month in credit card business.
Also, small business owners should look into taking advantage of the weak dollar and the recession. Buying a business with international operations diversifies investment portfolios. There’s large profit opportunity in acquiring a business while markets are depressed and credit is cheap. Businesses like security systems, assisted living and medical services will flourish come 2008.