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Batten down the hatches: Weathering a recession as a small business

Published On
18 September 2022
Business tips & insights

Most of us understand what a recession is and what it means for our businesses – less consumer activity, lower profits, and just generally tougher times. For many of us, the recession rollercoaster can seem like a frightening and dangerous prospect, especially if we don’t feel that we have an adequate plan in place to make it through to the end! This article sheds some light on how small business can put themselves in the best possible position to weather a recession, and why it is important to maintain a positive and flexible outlook on business, even when times are hard.

Proactive steps your small business can take to weather a recession

1. Get your business ready for the economic bounce-back.

Have you done a business health check and crunched some numbers? Do you have a business plan for best and worst case scenarios? Do you know how much money you need to save for your emergency fund? Have you considered what opportunities might arise in your industry or market at the end of the recession and actively planned for how you can take advantage of those opportunities.

Check out our blog on writing an effective business plan here.

2. Understand the signs and symptoms.

How will a decline in sales, general market volatility and downturn, unemployment, and other symptoms of a recession impact on your business? How can you manage these symptoms so that they have the least impact on your business.

3. Automate and delegate wherever possible.

The power of automation and delegation is something that many people neglect to embrace during a recession, as they instead opt for more streamlined and conventional methods of running a business. If you can automate or delegate basic day to day tasks like marketing posts, content writing, administrative tasks for price that is less than what your time costs, you’d be silly not to do it! Things like virtual PA’s and marketing scheduling tools allow business owners to focus their precious time and energy where it really counts – on building networks and winning more work!

4. Reconsider pricing.

Is your target audience doing it particularly tough in current times? Do they need a reprieve from the high costs and high demands? Can your business offer them a discounted rate or other additional products or benefits to help see them through tough times (in turn hopefully winning more business).

5. Think the long game.

Thinking 3, 5, even 10 years ahead is important during a recession, when it is even easier to lose perspective of what you set out to achieve in starting your business the first place. Are there ways that you can future proof your business and ensure sustainability and longevity in reaching your goals? Can you pay off some debts, refinance, sell or upgrade certain assets?

6. Show people you care.

Don’t forget about the lovely people sitting behind your business that make it all possible. They need to know that you have their back and will not only do everything in your power to keep them employed but will also search for ways to help them grow and maximise their potential even during a recession.

7. What’s your growth and diversification plan?

Start thinking about how you could diversify your product or service and maybe even enter a new market or appeal to a new target audience. Also start thinking about ways to diversify your sources of income – such as applying for business grants or other forms of investment.

Maintaining a positive and flexible outlook

One thing is for sure – if you anticipate and fear that a recession will negatively impact your business, it is more likely than not that it will. This is because you won’t be in the right frame of mind to seek out and embrace new opportunities for your business.

Netflix is a great example of a business that survived and thrived during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. They did this through securing new partnerships and reaching customers in new, more affordable ways.

Undoubtedly, the biggest challenge for business owners during the foreseeable future will be to continue searching for ways to build and diversify their business. As they say – adapt, evolve, become!

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