Article

Brad Chuck
Brad Chuck 22 May 2020

How Can a Business Survive a Recession?

Unfortunately, there is a no magic wand to wave and for all this just to go away. The situation is clear, and the need for action is obvious.

Unfortunately, there is a no magic wand to wave and for all this just to go away. The situation is clear, and the need for action is obvious.

If a business is to survive a recession, there are crucial elements and factors they must consider. Ask yourself these questions and take a moment to reflect on your answers – believe me, they will open your eyes:

Where is the Cash?

Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Money must continue inflowing and outflowing for optimum business health, with the apparent goal being that you bring in more income than you must spend on expenses.  But do you know where your primary income will come from? 

Recession-proof your business by implementing strategies to keep the cash flow moving, from increasing sales or billable services to trimming unnecessary expenses.

What is an unnecessary spend?

From frequent business travel to marketing campaigns that do not give the ROI you need; you may find that cutting back on many areas can help your business save money. Consider more than just Furlough and Staff layoffs, outline your spend that will ever be affected by the current situation – do we need to travel? Do we need to book accommodation? Are we investing in uniforms when no one is meeting each other?

It's imperative to check your outgoings and finally realise that something that costs a great deal but delivers truly little.

What is your competition doing?

You must continue to expand your customer/client base if your small business is going to prosper in tough times. This means drawing customers from your competition. But what is your competition doing that you can do better?

If your business ever needed a SWOT analysis, it is right now. Your competition has already spoken to me so is 27 steps ahead of you. How are you going to react and fend off the threats? Even better, what are you going to do differently to win the customers of your rivals?

What do your customers say?

Before you go all out guns blazing to win new business, spare a thought for your current customers. You cannot afford to ignore the potential profits of shifting your sales focus to include established customers if you want to recession-proof your business.

The key here is excellent customer service. Ensure that your customers or clients love what you do or sell and keep them happy. Yes, that means the customer is always right. Identify their needs, then meet them. You want to retain their business all costs. 

What is your Marketing Message?

Many businesses make the terrible mistake of cutting their marketing budget or downgrading their promotional message in lean times or even eliminating it, but this is precisely when your business needs marketing the most.

Consumers are restless. They are always looking to make changes in their buying decisions. Help them find your products and services and to choose them rather than others by getting your name out there. Do not quit marketing just yet, step up your marketing efforts but do it responsibly. 

How is your relationship with your bank?

If it is like 32% of the UK population, then it is horrendous. Owners of small and mid-size businesses understand that selecting the right banking institution is a crucial component to their business's financial health, and these decisions made previously will truly be felt in the current climate.

Now is the time to talk. Communication with your executive board is crucial, but so is with your lender's beneficiaries and of course, your bank. It's good to talk. 

Can you simply hold on and hope?

Many businesses believe in the old age method of merely 'waiting it out'. In some small cases, this can be effective if your product or service is in demand and you are fully optimised for a remote working market with a full set of ready to go digital platforms and skills.

However, for many, this is not the case. Time will be a telling factor, but time will also be a slow death if your strategy is to head down to the pub, pour a cold pint, and wait for this to all blow over.

What is your disaster recovery strategy now?

For years businesses have invested in disaster recovery strategies that helped business continuity. But these were always seen as worst-case scenarios in terms of theft, security breaches, destruction, acts of God and war. No one had a solution to covering a worldwide pandemic.

But why can't your disaster recovery strategy work now? Working from home is the new normal (all Twitter employees are full-time WFH), video conferencing is the new meeting set up (If only we bought shares in Zoom) and employees are happier if you are not breathing over their shoulder every 17 seconds.  Your business set up will survive. 

Survival is not just about being the fittest. It is also about being the wisest. Take a long hard look at your business and decide what is right for it and take action. Now. 

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