A recession is said to be on the horizon by some while being experienced by others. It would help if you created a plan to recession-proof your company in either scenario, and you should do this right away. It will be much more difficult for you as the economy worsens.
An economic recession is a natural stage of an (economic) life cycle, just as spring, summer, fall, and winter. Managing a firm during a recession can present particular difficulties for business owners and staff, much like any season might bring about extreme weather.
The United States has seen more than 40 recorded recessions, each distinct. Some last months, while others last for years. In American history, the Great Depression was the worst. The 2007–2009 financial crisis was the worst in many of our lives. Each occurred for a unique reason, and the subsequent recession will also have a unique catalyst.
However, our economy is based on small companies. Despite their size, tiny enterprises are mighty. They are responsible for 44% of American economic activity. And small enterprises are particularly vulnerable to economic downturns and catastrophes: 25% lack the resources to survive a two-week recession.
And while recessions can affect businesses differently, depending on their size and type, some of the difficulties can be anticipated. While a Fortune 500 company may be able to save money by eliminating positions and negotiating better terms with suppliers, a small consulting firm may encounter cash flow problems when clients put off paying invoices.
Knowing how a recession can affect your company or business can assist you in preventing it from going out of business during the subsequent decline.
What to do as a business owner?
1. Focus on Your Cash Flow
Cash flow is king, but this is truer than ever in a downturn. Cash flow may not have been your priority during the good days. You probably didn’t need to keep a close eye on your finances to ensure you didn’t run out of money because there was enough money flowing in. A lack of attention to your cash flow can make difficult times terrifying. Make every effort to extend the life of any financial reserves because cash is crucial to keeping a business afloat during challenging times, including a recession.
2. Listen to employees and customers.
Although you cannot stop the business cycle from changing, you can allow ample time for preparation. Consider listening to the most anecdotal data sources, your clients and workers, to assess present circumstances and aspirations for the future. You can gain immediate insights into where things are going if you maintain regular contact with your clients and ask correct questions about what they are observing in their businesses.
It also helps to pay attention to the dialogues inside your team to keep an eye on local economic situations, from inflation to the housing market.
3. Assess your business’s health
Consumer spending and available capital may cause both falls in the months before a recession, which may pressure a company’s budget.
This implies that some challenging decisions regarding product price, marketing strategies, recruiting, benefits, and even new launches may need to be made. Although every company will go through a recession in a different fashion, the following problems are faced by businesses of all sizes most frequently: the temptation to lower product benefits, size, and quality or raise pricing. Lack of funds to pay personnel lower productivity and morale among employees.
4.Build up an emergency fund
Your company should have money set aside for the unforeseen and unexpected, just as you (ideally) have money set up for yourself in case of emergencies. Keep enough cash to cover everything from running costs to staff salaries, or at least three months’ worth. When the economy begins to collapse, it is crucial to have quick and straightforward access to money.
5. Explore Your Financing Options
The best time to consider loans and credit lines is before you need them. Take the time to understand your options now, even if you believe you can weather the storm and recession without taking on debt. A flexible alternative like a revolving line of credit can be the best option if you don’t need money right now or in a specific amount.
6. Be Mindful about your Employee’s Needs
Everyone struggles during a recession, and even while it may be detrimental to employee morale, you need your staff to be more effective and productive than ever. Understanding the individual needs of your staff helps you to accomplish this. Pay attention to your workers. Employees are likely experiencing financial, emotional, or interpersonal stress at home if they are experiencing recession-related stress at work. With employees taking on more responsibility during a recession, this is more crucial than ever.
Periodic recessions halt the majority of the time ongoing economic growth. This compels companies of all sizes and types to cut costs designed for expansion while adjusting to a sudden decline in demand. When a recession hits, small businesses are more vulnerable to error than larger ones. The strongest survivors may gain market share as rivals fall behind, setting themselves up for success in the next economic recovery.