If you plan to be in business for any significant length of time, it’s inevitable you’ll have to weather a recession. Our country has experienced 11 of them since 1948, roughly one every six years. As our economy teeters on the edge of the next economic downturn, many business owners are inevitably getting nervous. And, while no business is recession-proof, there are strategies you can adopt to make it more likely you’ll come out thriving on the other side. Recessions–defined as a fall in GDP for two consecutive quarters–have many different causes, but the businesses that survive have a few things in common.
Diverse Product Offerings
As our economy lags and consumers’ dollars don’t go as far as they did only recently, it makes sense that shoppers tend to spend less on luxury and non-essential items. A quick look at companies that have thrived during the last recession shows us that discounted essentials, home entertainment (think games and puzzles), and DIY product categories perform well during a financial slowdown. If you’re not already in one or more of these categories, look to broaden your product selection so you’ll have the goods people want when and if the time comes. Also, remember to take a long look at your inventory management strategies. Are there ways you can reduce costs without sacrificing quality?
A Strong Supply Chain
As we've seen throughout the pandemic, supply-chain disruptions have wreaked havoc on product accessibility. In order to reduce these issues, be sure to maintain strong lines of communication with your suppliers. Build strong relationships and collaborate on strategies to help you mitigate challenges before they start. Do you sell certain products that are crucial to your business? Connect with your suppliers about prioritizing those items so you’ll be sure to have your top sellers available. Finally, look for alternate suppliers, as some may be better prepared than others to handle large-scale disruptions.
Open Lines of Communication
It isn’t a lot of fun breaking bad news to your customers, but for a business to survive, it’s essential they are fully transparent about shipping delays, out-of-stock products, and other points of customer frustration. Be timely and clear in your communications with customers. Acknowledge the issue and explain what your business is doing to mitigate customer issues. If you’re honest and straightforward with your customers, they will be far more likely to trust you. And, that trust will go a long way to helping you pick up momentum as the economy recovers.
A Strong Brand Identity
When sales are slumping, take advantage of the time to build your brand through your online channels. Use social media to reach out and engage with your audience, increase followership, and create a strong community. Understand your customers’ needs and how those customers, in turn, are navigating a tough economy. You’ll learn loads along the way, and reap the benefits of further refining your brand to be distinctive and memorable.
While it may be tempting to simply try to ride out a recession, a few simple strategies can go a long way in helping sustain your business.. Make sure you are offering what consumers are buying, meeting them on the channels where they are, and doing your best to streamline and secure your supply chain. Most importantly, take any and every opportunity to communicate with your customers. You’ll fnd yourself in a better position through the slow times and well poised to recover—likely with increased loyalty from your customer base—when the economy turns around.
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