How to Survive…and Thrive …Through an Economic Downturn
“Recession is opportunity in wolf’s clothing.” – Robin Sharma
“I’ve heard we’re in a recession. I’ve decided not to participate.” – Walt Disney
Many or most business owners are facing one of the most difficult economic periods in their lives. We feel for all business owners, their partners and employees and especially for those whose businesses have been virtually shut down through absolutely no fault of their own. The advice below includes proven tactics for surviving and eventually emerging from this episode even stronger than before. However, we fully realize that for some it’s 100% about survival.
- Protect your cash and cash flow
- Develop a weekly cash flow budget and monitor it constantly
- If possible, shore up any existing credit facilities and take full advantage of PPP and SBA loans
- Negotiate reductions or deferrals with all vendors
- Reduce or eliminate fixed or discretionary expenses. Attempt to convert fixed expenses into variable or semi-variable expense whenever possible. That includes comp plans.
- Protect your most vital team members
- Express your appreciation. Listen to what they need and include them in your business plan.
- If possible, provide non cash perks that might help them or their families
- Provide incentives for them on the other side of the crisis.
- Hyper focus on retaining existing customers /clients
- Communicate constantly with them
- Seek their feedback on how you’re doing and what else they need from you
- Strive to deliver service that is 110% of expectations
- Focus on core services and products
- Identify what you can do to enhance the value of your core service or product
- Consider scrapping ancillary products or services
- You may have to reduce your offerings now, to get bigger later
- Play offense when it comes to sales and marketing
- Develop and encourage the mindset of your team that will you emerge from this crisis with more market share than you had before. There will be winners and losers; you can be a winner.
- If at all possible, don’t cut back on sales and marketing costs, even if you have to change the mix between fixed and variable comp plans
- Identify opportunities to add value and/or differentiate versus your competitors
- Look to recruit great sales people who have been laid off from other companies; even if you can’t hire them today.
We recognize how difficult this situation is and that implementing the tactics above is easier said than done. Most of all, we just want to say thanks to all the entrepreneurs and business owners out there. As business owners ourselves, we appreciate what it takes and admire your spirit. Let us know if we can do anything for you.
Matt and Andrew