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21 Recession Proof Tips To Help Your Business

Blog, Marketing, Small Business

Recessions come and go, but when you are a small business already in a deficit by Covid and the toll that took, it’s time to start planning your strategies now.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) recessions have lasted between two and 18 months and are defined as a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months.

Covid was too much to handle for many businesses to stay afloat which is completely understandable based on all the challenges it brought. Those that were able to weather the storm either got creative, lucky, or had extra help.

Those that did not make it did not do anything wrong and those that made it did not do everything right. It was a toss-up of who landed on their feet even after the huge rush of Covid casualties and issues that arose. 

The businesses that managed to stay alive are still working on recovery plans and are not out of the woods yet. With the impending recession, it is hard not to want to throw the towel in and say enough!

Start now, not later.

Recession-proofing your business will prepare you to survive a downturn. It’s not just about the bottom line – it’s about your business surviving and thriving, even if there is a recession or economic crisis in your industry. You’ll have a plan to keep yourself afloat, and a plan to keep your employees working and customers happy.

You can’t afford to wait until after the fact. When things aren’t going as well as they could be, it’s too late to start planning how to weather this storm!

Your competitors are probably already looking at ways they can adjust their businesses so that their margins stay high even when times get tough. You needn’t be left behind; read on for some strategies that will help ensure survival in any economy or environment

It’s okay to be a little uneasy when watching the market.

Anyone with good business sense is watching the market and is a little uneasy. It is normal to be concerned. Life is full of uncertainty for any business owner, but the last 2.5 years, many have had enough uncertainty to last a lifetime.

According to experts, there seems to be an impending recession right around the corner and it is okay to be worried, but it is also good not to panic.

“41% percent of U.S. businesses say they are extremely concerned about an impending recession, while only 5% are not at all concerned” according to a report by Sapio research from June 2022.

Don’t panic. You can adapt.

The worst thing anyone can do in any stressful situation is to panic. Panicking causes even more stress and can take a toll on your health. The best thing one can do is prepare and make plans.

If you have lived on this planet for more than a few years. You have had your share of extreme stress, if not in business, then in life. Life is not easy, it will have many ups and downs and how we flow with those times will help us weather any storm.

Remember, anything that comes your way – you can handle. Even if you have to shut your business down, you will find something else to take its place. You will adapt.

It’s never fun to be made to adapt, but again, it is life – we don’t have a choice

How can you weather the impending recession?

So how will you weather this impending recession storm that is possibly approaching? Although it is not 100% certain we will be in an extreme recession, it is still a perfect time to plan.

When you notice a hole in the boat, you don’t wait until the boat is flooded to make a plan. You do it right away. This is the same with the impending recession.

As a digital marketing agency, our focus is on small business owners and how we can help you improve your business – even without us on your team.

We love having so many people who read out blogs as clients, but we also love helping those who are not our clients by providing blogs, podcast episodes, courses, and other resources.

We want you to win!

So how can you win during this hard time?

1. Create an emergency business fund.

Businesses should have this already established, just like it is a goal to have such things in our personal lives – but not every business does. If you do not have an emergency business fund, it is time to start doing that now.

Any extra that you may have, stash it. To prepare for a financial emergency, set up an emergency cash fund that can cover at least six months (more if you can) of essential costs, such as utilities, inventory, and payroll.

2. Cut overhead costs when possible.

As a business, we should be already doing this. When we mention cutting overhead costs, we do not mean killing the quality of your work or services by delivering work or services that are subpar.

Perhaps you work with a quality supplier of goods that you resell, but you know most of the other suppliers will not provide the same quality product – don’t cut costs here. This could cost you a loss in customers which is a greater loss.

A few ways to cut costs would be eliminating travel, cleaning services, and extra expenses and finding ways to lower bills. Negotiate better rates with suppliers and contractors. As for discounts from vendors and partners. Remember, even saving a few hundred dollars can go a long way.

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3. Do not jump the gun.

To cut costs and increase efficiency, some companies are choosing to lay off employees and consolidate office space. Many companies are also hiring remote workers. All of these are options to consider, but it is best to try other ways to cut costs when you can.

When you start laying off employees and consolidating real estate things start to get sticky and even more stressful. Only do these things if they are your last option and you have no other choice.

4. Cater to more specific needs in your industry.

It’s easy to carry various products or offer numerous services, but when a recession hits it’s best to stick with the thing that you offer that is needed most. Casting a wide net might seem like a good idea to help you stay floating, but by not niching down you can sink your boat.

Getting more in line with what your target audience needs will always help any business, even without a recession looming. However, it is more important than ever now to get focused on what is the most important product, service, or offering that you can solely focus on to keep you bringing in the cash and keeping you open.

5. Follow a strict budget.

Making a budget is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself against the potential effects of an economic downturn. It’s also something you should have been doing years ago!

If you are operating a business, a budget is a must. If you do not have a budget or business plan – start there first! When hard times hit if a business has a solid budget that can be followed just as easily during financially supported times as it does during financial uncertainty – this is the right kind of budget.

Be strict with your budget and take it seriously so that you (and your team if you have one) can make it through the hard times.

6. Invest in your clients, team, partners, suppliers, distributors, etc.

When we say invest, we do not mean at this time – financially. What we mean is making sure that you are letting the people you work with know how much you really care about your relationships with them.

When recessions start creeping in, many businesses get caught up in worry and move into survival mode. While doing this, it often alienates the people around you. Sticking together, sharing praise, letting people know your worries, and being transparent are the best ways to hang in there during hard times.

We need each other.

7. Believe in yourself

Yeah, yeah we know – that all sounds great but it is so hard when you are worried about the hard times that are upon us. Remember, we are resilient. You are resilient and whatever comes your way, you can handle and adapt to. Take a deep breath – we believe in you too.

8. Give yourself a break.

It’s not easy being a business owner on a good day. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears and when things become harder – it becomes harder not to be hard on yourself. Was that a tongue twister?

Again take a breath and just know that you are not alone in this and that it’s okay to have the feelings that you do. It is okay to worry, cry, get mad and just be overall frustrated with it all. It’s a hard time to run a small business and it’s okay to give yourself a break. If you need to lock yourself in the bathroom and be alone crying it out in the shower – do it.

We are all human, we all feel defeated at some point in time and it’s okay. Really, it is. You don’t have to be a big girl or a big boy all the time. Life is not easy. Get back up and try again when you are ready.

9. Recessions don’t last forever.

Know that it will get better, it always does. The recession won’t last forever. “From 1945 to 2020 the average recession lasted about 10 months” according to the NBER. 10 months is a long time to go through hard times as a business, but it beats – forever. So hang in there, you got this.

10. Hire carefully.

Hire the right people for your business. People are a company’s most valuable asset, and you want to make sure that they’re not just good at what they do, but also a good fit with the rest of your team. Hiring people who compliment your skills can help your organization become more effective and productive as a whole.

Hire someone who has skills that will help take your business to the next level – whether it be in social media marketing or graphic design!

And if you’re looking for someone with experience doing something specific (like providing customer support), hire someone who’s willing to learn and grow with the business instead of expecting them to know everything from day one.

Having a good team is important to move through a recession.

11. Boost Productivity

Productivity is one of the most important aspects of running a business. Whether you are a large business or small, productivity can make or break your company.

As a small business owner, it is easy to get caught up with all of the day-to-day tasks that need to be done in order for your business to run smoothly. But what does productivity mean for you? In short, productivity gives you more time and less stress!

It means working smarter instead of harder by using tools that help you do more in less time. With these tools at your disposal, it will allow you more time away from “the grind” so that you can spend more quality time with family and friends while building relationships with other businesses around town that share similar interests as yours.

12. Increase Efficiency

When you’re working with a lean team, and your schedule is jam-packed with projects, it can be easy for efficiency to suffer. Ensure that you are using the right tools for the job. Ensure that you are using the right people for the job. Ensure that you avoid over-scheduling yourself and your team by planning ahead and being realistic about timelines. Ensure that your processes are as efficient as they should be.

13. Automate processes and tasks.

Automate processes and tasks that are repetitive, time-consuming, or error-prone. Use automation to reduce the need for human labor. If you’re doing something more than once a week, there’s probably a way to automate it so that you don’t have to keep doing it manually. Automation can also free up your time so that you can focus on more important tasks!

14. Create new income streams.

Consider how you could generate additional income streams, whether that means selling your services in another way or creating a new product. Don’t be afraid to try something new, even if it doesn’t work out. You might learn from the experience and end up with a better understanding of what works best for you. Get help if you need it! You don’t have to do everything yourself; there are resources out there that can help guide you through different scenarios and give advice based on their own experience. Failure is okay as long as you learn from it – don’t let failure stop your progress toward a healthier future for your business!

15. Plan ahead and stay flexible

As a business owner, it’s important to prepare for an economic downturn. The best way to make your business recession-proof is by planning ahead and staying flexible. Staying flexible is one of your biggest superpowers. No one can predict the future, we can just learn to be trees in the wind and bend so we don’t break.

16. Diversify your business offerings.

We know above we mention niching down, but remember not everything works for everyone. Diversification is the act of expanding your business offerings.

You can diversify in any number of ways for example, by adding new products or services to your existing offerings or creating a new product or service altogether. So if you sell t-shirts and sweatshirts, you might consider signing on with a local distributor as well as making your own clothing line.

If you’re an accountant who has been doing taxes for years but recently started doing bookkeeping services as well, that’s a good example of how to diversify!

Diversifying your business offerings is important because it gives you options during tough economic times. If one part of the market starts underperforming (e.g., sales for specific products drop), then having additional revenue streams helps offset those losses so that overall profits aren’t affected too much.

Diversification also allows you to expand into new markets and reach customers who may not have been willing before because they didn’t know about your business yet!

15. Plan ahead and stay flexible

As a business owner, it’s important to prepare for an economic downturn. The best way to make your business recession-proof is by planning ahead and staying flexible. Staying flexible is one of your biggest superpowers. No one can predict the future, we can just learn to be trees in the wind and bend so we don’t break.

16. Diversify your business offerings.

We know above we mention niching down, but remember not everything works for everyone. Diversification is the act of expanding your business offerings.

You can diversify in any number of ways for example, by adding new products or services to your existing offerings or creating a new product or service altogether. So if you sell t-shirts and sweatshirts, you might consider signing on with a local distributor as well as making your own clothing line.

If you’re an accountant who has been doing taxes for years but recently started doing bookkeeping services as well, that’s a good example of how to diversify!

Diversifying your business offerings is important because it gives you options during tough economic times. If one part of the market starts underperforming (e.g., sales for specific products drop), then having additional revenue streams helps offset those losses so that overall profits aren’t affected too much.

Diversification also allows you to expand into new markets and reach customers who may not have been willing before because they didn’t know about your business yet!

17. Create a support network.

We all have someone we can turn to when we’re in need of advice or help. Whether it’s our friends, our family members, or even just a good book. There are many resources that can help us out when life gets tough. If you don’t have someone in your life who is able to give you this kind of support, try reaching out to others in the industry and see if any one has been in your situation or has a connection to those that do.

18. Be Open

As things ebb and flow, It is similar to being flexible, but also very different. A good example of this is a pizza parlor in New York that started losing business during Covid and shifted to use their ovens to make plastic masks for medical facilities. This is an example of being open. Sometimes we have to think outside of the box to stay floating.

19. Prioritize Customer Service

It is harder to get new customers than it is to keep those already supporting or investing in your business. Customer service can fall by the wayside if prioritizing current customer actions are not set in place.

Clients and customers are often more likely to be open to things like upselling because they are familiar with your services and brand. Opportunities to show existing customers and clients how much you value them can come in the form of offering early access to services or discounts.

Remember those clients are a gateway to new clients by referral.

20. Competition Efforts

When focusing on existing clients is firm, recession-proofing now can mean looking at the other side of the spectrum. This is where finding different ways to elevate and expand your clientele through means of competitor research.

Diligence in where your competitors are in the market, where their ad dollars go, and analyzing what strategies they may be using during this time will benefit you in separating and outperforming your competition.

What makes you unique over competitors and what can you offer current and prospective clientele to help you stand out?

21. Never Quit Marketing

This may seem obvious but for some, it is not. Recession periods may cause thoughts of cutting back and performing in the lean parameters until the market shifts. This is not necessarily fact. Regardless of where the economy is, find less expensive ways of casting that marketing net.

Pivot how you reach your audiences such as less advertising traditionally and more social media platform engagement. Consistency and frequency in keeping your head in the race are always important in and out of recession periods.

Remember those clients are a gateway to new clients by referral.

It’s a challenging time, but you got this.

Preparing for a recession can be a daunting task. However, if you’re proactive and prepared, you can weather the storm.

There are many things that businesses can do to minimize the impact of an economic downturn. Some of these solutions are short-term while others require more investment upfront; however, all will help your company

survive the next recession! Solutions such as automating processes or diversifying offerings may require additional capital investment while others like cutting expenses could be implemented sooner than later with minimal cost implications

Aunia Kahn, Rise Visible CEO

Aunia Kahn is the CEO of Rise Visible. With 24 years in the industry, she is a highly sought-after digital marketer, strategist, designer and public speaker. Rise Visible was named a Top-Ranking Woman-Owned Digital Agency by Clutch and is a certified Disability-Owned Business Enterprises (DOBE®). Kahn is also an internationally renowned artist and photographer and has been in over 300 exhibitions in 10 countries; at places such as SDAI, iMOCA, and the SLAM. She founded Create for Healing, is the host of the Rise Above Be Visible Podcast and a contributing writer for Better Marketing and Just Creative. She been featured on Yahoo, Prevention Magazine, Authority Magazine and Entrepreneur on Fire. She also identified as a disabled business owner in STEM surviving and thriving with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (Type 3), MCAS, Dysautonomia, POTS, PTSD, etc.

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