“Precarious,” “unpredictable,” and “volatile”—are just a few adjectives entrepreneurs have used to describe the global economy over the last two years. From nationwide lockdowns to supply chain disruptions, businesses have had to deal with several challenges in recent times.
While companies are still recovering from the pandemic’s repercussions, the threat of a worldwide economic downturn has emerged. Soaring interest rates and commodity prices indicate the economy is headed toward a recession in 2023. Thankfully though, most experts predict it’ll be short and mild, meaning it won’t be too difficult for businesses to weather the storm.
Whether running a bootstrapped startup, a growing small business, or a global corporation, overcoming business challenges is a part of the process. In the current atmosphere of economic uncertainty, your business will likely face several challenges, from recessions to climate change and natural disasters. But it’s still possible to keep your business going and emerge stronger.
But how do you manage that? The best business leaders focus on pre-empting business challenges and building processes that are agile and resilient. Such preventive measures can even help you identify new opportunities and revenue streams.
In this blog, we’ll discuss a few effective ways to run and sustain your business during a recession and other uncertain times.
Assess your financial health
Limited funds are one of the most common challenges businesses face during an economic downturn. For instance, rising inflation rates during a recession will curb consumers’ spending power. That, in turn, can lead to a decline in sales and affect your revenue. Higher commodity prices could add to supply-side pressures, too.
Therefore, it’s crucial to review your company’s financial health before a crisis hits you. Start by working with the accounting department to perform a regular cash flow analysis. Simulate various worst-case scenarios where your revenue falls by a certain percentage and assess the potential impact.
Next, identify areas where you can cut costs to make up for the decline in revenue. For instance, maybe you can automate certain routine tasks to improve efficiency. Or you can let employees in specific departments work remotely and shift on-site employees to a smaller office.
It’s also a good time to explore different avenues for borrowing money if needed.
Revise your targets
Goal-setting is integral to business growth. Measurable and time-bound goals keep your employees motivated. They also help you implement the right business strategies for continued success.
As a business owner, you’ve likely already set targets for the coming month, quarter, and year. But, with difficult times lurking around the corner, it’s a good idea to go back to the drawing board. Review your existing short-term and long-term goals and determine whether they’re achievable in the current economic climate.
If that isn’t the case, your employees will fail to achieve their targets despite their best efforts. Besides demotivating them, this will also increase costs due to wasted manpower and resources. Ultimately, it’s wiser to adjust your sales and revenue targets and other goals according to the situation. Be prepared to tweak your goals as the situation improves or deteriorates in the future.
Focus on customer retention
Existing customers are likely to spend 31 percent more than new ones. They’re also 50 percent more likely to try out new products. Even better, a large pool of loyal customers can help you build brand authority and attract new customers through word-of-mouth marketing.
During periods of economic uncertainties and downturns, consumers avoid risky purchases. Instead of buying from an unfamiliar business, they’d prefer a brand that’s already earned their trust.
That makes customer retention strategies a crucial part of building a recession-proof business. Start by using a customer relationship management (CRM) solution like Act! to build and maintain detailed customer profiles.
With Act!, your marketing and sales teams can monitor every customer activity and identify your most valuable customers. Also, insights into customer preferences and pain points will help them create personalized content and offers. That, in turn, will boost customer retention.
Tech giants, including Amazon, Meta, and Twitter, have been in the news for laying off thousands of their employees. As painful as it can be, downsizing might be a logical move for most small businesses during a recession.
But here’s the thing—with mass layoffs, thousands of experienced and skilled professionals will be looking for new jobs. If they’re currently unemployed, they might be willing to join your company at a lower pay scale.
Hiring them during a crisis can be beneficial for your company in the long run. They might even bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to recession-proof your business.
Instead of freezing your recruitment process, watch out for recent layoffs at companies that operate in a similar market to your business. This will give you access to a talent pool that already has the skills you need in your team members.
As you make your hiring plans, though, ensure you have the adequate cash flow to recruit and onboard new employees while retaining your existing workforce.
Don’t stop marketing
Spending on marketing strategies during periods of volatility might seem counter-productive. Why should you promote your products and brand when it may not generate direct revenue, especially when your cash flow is already limited?
Here’s why: Most companies, including your competitors, will cut their marketing budgets during tough times. That can make it easier for you to grab your target audience’s attention.
All you have to do is identify the right channels for reaching out. Also, focus on providing value to your potential customers instead of using overly promotional sales tactics. Organic strategies like social media marketing, content marketing, and search engine optimization will be more cost-effective than paid ads and PR outreach.
While you’re at it, make sure you use a marketing automation solution like Act! to optimise your campaigns. For instance, Act! lets you capture leads from landing pages and web forms and automatically adds them to your CRM. Also, you can build automated workflows to nurture and convert leads, thus maximizing the ROI of your campaigns.
Keep your business going
Overcoming business challenges during a recession or any other crisis isn’t easy. But timely implementation of preventive measures will help your company weather the storm. Assess your financial situation and adjust targets to minimise overspending.
Also, using a CRM and marketing automation solution like Act! can help you build long-standing customer relationships. That, in turn, will improve customer retention and drive repeat purchases, even during turbulent times. Click here to try Act! for free today.