Yvonne Cobb, President of TakeAway Tax.
Over the years, I’ve encountered several struggling small-business owners, all of whom have tried to cultivate last-minute crisis responses to recession impacts. I am always tasked with delivering the difficult truth to these folks: It is not possible to reverse the domino effect of financial ruin caused by economic dips.
When signs of a recession start popping up, all business owners must take initiative and plan accordingly. There are vehicles available for entrepreneurs to take control of their money before tough times hit.
Here are three strategies to “recession-proof” your business for the long haul.
Learn how the recession will impact you.
Building a thorough understanding of how a recession will impact your business is the first crucial step toward becoming recession-proof. Think of it like this: A doctor cannot heal a patient without confirming a diagnosis. Similarly, you will not be able to plan finances accordingly if you do not forecast the toll a recession will take on your business.
Of course, you must set your stage before developing the action plan. Ask yourself, “What am I working with?”
Remain consistent with your typical budgeting practices before drafting your financial plan. Take stock of your recent spending habits to determine which practices can be downsized when difficult times hit. Once you catalog your spending trends, you can begin to experiment with different recession-impact scenarios. Creativity and research are encouraged when brainstorming potential recession situations.
Using the budgeting information you’ve collected, you can think of ways to modify your services, reduce overhead and cut down on inventory. Experiment with different combinations of preventative measures to determine which approach will best serve your business and clients as the recession continues.
When beginning to “recession-proof” your business, you must plan, plan, plan. In assessing your spending habits and brainstorming your personalized action plans, you will be able to better forecast what to expect when the economy begins to spiral.
Consider cutting back before the recession begins.
A common mistake many small businesses make in the face of economic hardship is to cut back on all assets immediately. This is a huge risk with little reward. While this strategy saves a little bit of money in desperate times, it is not always the best possible financial move in the long run. Your business can suffer greatly from sudden, drastic cuts.
In preparation for a recession, begin to make reasonable and prepared scale-backs. Gradually begin to reduce inventory and overhead so you will feel more prepared to operate at a leaner capacity. Taking preventative action will also give you an opportunity to find out what works and what doesn’t for your business.
Cutting back is not easy, so be sure to adequately prepare. Give yourself a grace period to find out the best approach so your business can operate at its best performance despite the lack of regularly available resources. Spending lots of time in the strategizing phase will allow you to feel more confident to make cut-back decisions.
Increase your relationships.
Your small business is most likely at the forefront of your concerns when it comes to recession planning, which is understandable. It is crucial to remember the surrounding community is also impacted by these economic changes. While you will be making cuts for the good of your business, you will benefit from building your relationships with your clients and partners.
Building solid relationships with your clientele and business partners will greatly benefit sustainability. Solidifying your presence as an essential business in the community will allow locals to realize how important your company is to the area. When you are able to maintain a steady client base, your customers will feel more inclined to help, even when times get hard.
Developing business partnerships in the area can also be wise to help you stay afloat in dire circumstances. Having savvy entrepreneurs and fellow business owners on your side might introduce more wisdom and finance knowledge into your business, which is always a priceless commodity.
So, is your small business recession-proof?
Heading into the economic dark ages is scary for any small-business owner. However, these tips can help carry you and your organization to success, even in the face of a recession. Prioritizing your time to draft action plans, implement cutbacks and strengthen your relationships can give you the confidence and resources needed to survive a drop.
The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.