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12 Recession-Proof and COVID-19 Business Survival Tips

Over the last couple of weeks, we have listened to business leaders and examined how different companies have behaved and changed course during a recession. And perhaps most importantly, how they fared post-recession after implementing new business strategies. The studies are very consistent; companies that used a combination of selective expense reduction (defensive moves) along with smart investments for the future (offensive moves), are the ones that have excelled during tough economic periods. 

Businesses need to take these lessons from the past and apply them to their business today in order to survive this crisis. And, business-to-business, sharing the lessons, victories, and challenges is paramount so that we can all bypass surviving and move toward thriving.

Here are some quick tips and lessons that we’ve learned.

  1. Be proactive, use this available time to work on your business instead of in your business. 
  2. Update your website, signage, and brand messaging to ensure your clients know you are open, active, and still offering your products and services. 
  3. Based on your current business situation, develop and promote new ways (virtual meetings, email video messages, free samples delivered, product videos, etc.) to present yourself and your products.
  4. If you’re not doing this already, be sure to reach out to your customers and prospects via phone, email, video, and social media to be top of mind.
  5. Explore new opportunities, such as developing or segmenting your database. A robust database can be used not only for email but also for multi-channel messaging on Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Twitter.
  6. Expand when others are constricting. We learned this lesson from one of our customers. During the last recession, they didn’t lay off any staff, and they purchased inventory at a discounted rate. When the economy came back, they greatly expanded their market.
  7. Regarding your marketing, if your business is still open for business, be selective and highly targeted with your target audiences. Lower marketing budgets as needed, but stay the course; this is a way to make it through the tough times and build market share as the economy improves.
  8. Work on your online reputation; this is a great time to request reviews from your past customers. Post the highly positive reviews on your social media pages.
  9. Update your LinkedIn personal and business pages, and your other social media profiles. And learn about social selling; it’s a great way to interact and build relationships with prospects and thought leaders in your target market.
  10. Brainstorm with your team and develop a solution or special offer that you can present to your customers and prospects that help your customers (business or consumer) in the short term and your business in the long run.
  11. Look for creative ways to make it easy to do business with your company. Some ideas include “free or a low cost to start” service paid in arrears for the first month, and creative payment terms for product inventory based on negotiated terms with your suppliers.
  12. Find a competitive advantage, look for the latest techniques and products in your industry, and develop a plan to present these techniques as sales value propositions to your customers.

Here’s an excerpt from a Harvard Business Review article on this topic – “One combination has the greatest likelihood of producing post-recession winners: the one pursued by progressive enterprises. They cut costs mainly by improving operational efficiency rather than by slashing the number of employees relative to peers. However, their offensive moves are comprehensive. They develop new business opportunities by making significantly greater investments than their rivals do in R&D and marketing, and they invest in assets such as plants and machinery. Their post-recession growth in sales and earnings is the best among the groups in our study.”

Every business and employee across the country is anxious right now. We don’t yet know the full extent COVID-19 and the economic downturn will have on our daily lives; this is not a time to “wait and see.” It is time to be proactive, to work in tandem with our customers, vendors, and other businesses to help ensure that we do more than survive. Please call us at (760) 809-7151 if we can be of any assistance.