how to prepare your business for a recession

How To Prepare for a Recession: Securing Longevity Through Proactive Decision-Making

by | Oct 10, 2022 | Content Marketing | 0 comments

A recession — a temporary period (two or more consecutive quarters) of economic decline — requires a specific response from all businesses. Owners and operators must take a measured and reserved approach to operational challenges, learning how to prepare for a recession by avoiding the temptation of reactive decision-making.

Professionals adhering to the general definition of the term argue the country entered a recession in the summer of 2022. The National Bureau of Economic Research, an organization responsible for defining business cycles, claims the economy has yet to enter an economic downturn long or stable enough to justify the classification. Notwithstanding conflicting reports, unprecedented inflation, supply chain issues, worker shortages, etc., suggest a recession is still possible and likely.

Despite the precarious nature of teetering on the edge of economic decline, the timing is critical for a company’s survival, as proactive decision-making is usually the difference between growth and stability or insolvency and closure. Capitalizing on recession tips for business management focuses objectives on protective and preventative strategies.

How To Prepare for a Recession: The Effects of Reactive Versus Proactive Thinking

Corporate strategies comprise a mix of reactive and proactive reasoning and decisions. Reactionary events include incidences or occurrences that are unanticipated and outside of a company’s control, such as a new product launch from a competitor. Many professionals may qualify a recession as a reactionary event under such a loose definition, but it is not. While economic turmoil is technically outside a company’s ability to control, most downturns are not unanticipated.

proactive recession thinking

Some economists argue the inevitability of recessions because of the expansion and contraction of the financial cycle. The government and Federal Reserve attempt to subvert critical consequences by implementing policy changes and engineered “soft landings,” but with rare success.

As economic ebbs and flows are unavoidable, learning how to prepare for a recession is a necessary operational skill. Reactive decision-making puts businesses in a never-ending game of catchup, and during an economic decline, a company can lose significant market share and consumer loyalty.

Proactive reasoning — anticipating future challenges and needs — can allow for growth and strategic advantage even in a market downturn. Surgical restructuring and pre-recession planning are vital to corporate success in a waning economy.

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How To Manage Finances Without Sacrificing Market Share: The Role of Surgical Restructuring

Too many companies use a chainsaw-like approach to necessary cost-cutting during a recession, reacting to temporary market challenges by felling their financial tree instead of pruning it. Reactive restructuring often means sacrificing too much, resulting in little, if any, gain.

recession stresses

Surgical restructuring is how to prepare for a recession. The process involves:

  • Investing in high-value processes
  • Managing work complexity and inventory volume
  • Managing cash flows, working capital, and investments
  • Divesting non-core assets to increase investments in core business
  • Investing in Research and Development (R&D)
  • Realigning logistics
  • Maintaining and increasing marketing efforts
  • Improving consumer relationships through personalization and digital integration

How To Use Pre-Recession Planning: The 4 Keys to Business Success

Successful companies like to plan or envision different future scenarios, allowing them to develop emergency operational procedures should a worst-case scenario develop. As recessions are inevitabilities, one aspect of a business’s “worst-case” toolkit is pre-recession planning.

recession toolkit

A recession-proof plan should focus on four key areas: defense, offense, core strengths, and investments.

  1. Defense. Playing defense involves surgical cost-cutting and paring back non-core products and processes to concentrate on core assets.
  2. Offense. Offensive strategies before and during a recession include investments in core products, talent, and marketing. Businesses that thrive during market downturns play to their strengths and avoid the urge to slow down.
  3. Core Strengths. A company’s core strengths include central competencies: innovation, quality, value, customer relations, etc. Many operations falter because they dial back R&D and move to bare-bones processes.
  4. Investments. Investments in R&D, consumer relationships, and marketing define the difference between companies thriving during recessions and those barely surviving. Too many businesses underestimate the value of advertising and consumer relationships during economic downturns.

How To Prepare for a Recession: The Importance of Continued Marketing Efforts

Many executives believe marketing is a sacrificial expenditure during tough economic times, but the claim is unsupported by research. The recessions of 1974-75 and 1981-82 showed companies that invested in advertising experienced more growth than those that shrunk or eliminated their marketing budgets. In 2008, companies that maintained or increased marketing budgets experienced three and a half times more brand visibility than competitors that didn’t.

marketing prevents company shutdown

Client retention is never more critical than during a recession. When a company eliminates or reduces its marketing budget, it’s like telling customers it’s closed for business.

Marketing is communication. Regular interactions with clients or consumers build sustainable relationships. Investing in marketing channels, and potentially increasing budgets, can improve customer relations, establish trust and build loyalty even in a financial crisis.

How To Capitalize on Content Marketing: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Marketing efforts in the new age combine traditional and digital media. Digital marketing presents several advantages for a business trying to understand how to prepare for a recession. Most digital media efforts are cost-effective with a more targeted audience reach, improving opportunities for lead generation, brand awareness, and customer engagement.

content marketing benefits

Content marketing is a subset of digital marketing. According to industry leaders, content strategy is one of the most affordable and sustainable methods for businesses to remain relevant and profitable during a recession.

With consumers relying on ad blockers to improve their internet experience, companies need alternative ways to attract buyers. Businesses investing in content marketing experience nearly eight times more traffic than those that don’t. Also, content marketing is a fraction of the cost of other outbound marketing methods, roughly 60% less, and drives higher conversion rates, about six times.

While many companies try to manage content strategies in-house, it is often an inefficient use of their budget. Over 70% of major organizations see the value in outsourcing their content marketing efforts, especially when figuring out how to prepare for a recession.

Content marketing is an effective marketing solution. The strategy goes beyond essential advertising, delving into the area of consumer relationships.

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How To Foster Customer Relationships: The Significance of Authenticity, Quality, and Personalization

There are several ways to foster profitable consumer relationships, including using social media platforms, engaging in personal conversations, exceeding expectations, and implementing feedback. Despite the effectiveness of many communication techniques, content marketing provides a significant opportunity for companies.

content marketing opportunities

Resiliency in a recession is about promoting authority and authenticity regardless of the economic climate. A business can foster relationships and build an authoritative reputation by capitalizing on six factors of effective content development:

  1. Research and publish relevant and timely information, including insights, studies, and reports
  2. Identify audience FAQs and respond with research-backed content
  3. Collaborate with other authoritative organizations
  4. Identify and leverage in-house subject matter experts (SMEs)
  5. Establish a social media presence with meaningful content
  6. Highlight case studies, reviews, testimonials

Surviving a recession is about more than cost-cutting, and it should never rely on reactive decision-making. A proactive response created through pre-recession planning will allow a company to maintain operational muscle while re-enforcing marketing budgets and focusing on advertising strategies that promote authority and consumer trust.

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