Things are just different right now. With the global pandemic going on much of our daily lives have been shaken up and it is hard to see the silver lining.
For business owners and just about everyone in the workforce, the massive quarantines are causing anxiety around job security and the general health of our businesses.
The truth is, a lot of industries are hurting. People aren’t going out and purchasing, employees in most industries aren’t going to work, trade is halted. We are flirting with a recession and it seems the coronavirus is dictating how bad it will be.
Recessions are an Opportunity
Going into this potential recession and major slow in the market we need to have a mindset change, this is an opportunity, not a death sentence. Many successful businesses were born during recessions. Walgreens, for example, grew their earnings by 10.7% in just one quarter during the last recession while their competition lagged.
The “deck” will be reshuffled over the next couple of years. A study by Bain & Company found that a fifth of companies in the bottom quartile of their industry made a leap to the top quartile during the last recession while a fifth of the companies at the top fell to the bottom.
While most of us are seeing a significant slow in business we need to take a step back and think about how we are going to come out on the other side. Are we just going to hang on by a thread and hope to get through this?
No, we are going to take advantage of these slow times and address systems and processes in our businesses we normally don’t have the time to worry about.
While you don’t have as much business on a daily basis, you are probably trying to be productive with all that extra time on your hands. This is the perfect time to audit and improve your business as a whole.
Nothing reveals the strengths and weaknesses of your company like tough times do. Think of it as an opportunity to hone in on what you need to change.
A study done by the Harvard Business Review found that gains and losses made during a recession tend to endure after the economy upswings. The “oh it is just the times, my business will make a comeback after the recession” mentality is killer. Don’t make excuses, make adjustments.
Improving processes through avenues such as new technology is usually a time consuming and risky move for a business. It takes time to integrate new technology and train all of your employees on how to use it. After all of that, it may not even be a good fit for your business.
Now you have plenty of time on your hands to implement and test new systems. Try out that new software, implement a new management system, adopt more technology, now is the time where you can experiment and improve your internal processes.
Money may be lacking but these are relatively cheap avenues that have the potential to have a great long-term value-add to your business. When times are bleak, you need to consider in the long-term, the economy is always going to swing back.
Improving does not always mean adding new technology and processes. Now is the time to cut back on wasteful spending and tactics that just aren’t working for you. We have all heard of A/B testing and its usefulness. So, start comparing all of your marketing and sales strategies to see which ones can go and which avenues are your most successful.
Eliminating wasteful spending will also help with your cash flow which is the biggest killer during recessions. All of that cutting back should even result in some extra capital lying around for you to reallocate.
Invest in the Future
With a slow in the economy often comes a rise in unemployment. According to experts at Trading Economics, the unemployment rate is expected to rise to 4% by the end of the quarter.
With all the new talent out looking for work, you need to make sure you can capitalize on this opportunity when the time is right.
Now is the time to reevaluate and put in place new job training and recruitment programs to get ahead of the competition when its time to hire again. Finding the best employees for your company is one of the easiest ways to increase your business’ success.
Invest in new markets. When you analyze and repair your internal processes you will most likely make quite a few budget cuts to non-essential spending during this downturn. So you have some capital to inject elsewhere.
While some of your competition is starting to fold you are in a position to move in on their market and take their customers. It is vital you do extensive research first. understanding consumer’s behaviors and needs in a market are crucial to your success when trying to take over.
Do not sit back and go into survival mode during this slowdown. Take the initiative to make internal changes and decisions that will define your company for years to come. Be on top when the economy swings back, be an innovator.