Protect your joy
When going through the The Great Recession, I experienced fear for the future, a general sense of anxiety, and extra stress. Overall consumer spending declines during a recession, and that may cause your customers to start spending less with your business. This can eat away at your confidence. Instead of blaming yourself for a decrease in sales, face the reality that the business environment has changed. Realize some things are out of your control. Create time in your schedule for activities that bring you joy. Carving out that time now, before the stress piles on, will protect your mental health in the future.
Cash is king
Now is not the time to make extra payments on debt. Unless you have high interest terms, use debt to your advantage. Keep assets liquid and set aside some extra cash for when sales are down. Also, examine your expenses. Take 15 minutes a week to review costs and find one bill you can renegotiate or one perk you can do without. Don’t panic and pull back on advertising or cut hours for your team for no reason. Focus on expenses that can creep up when you’re not watching like utilities and software
Support your team
Today I felt an overall sense of anxiety about the future and my team picked up on it. Be honest about how you are feeling without creating a sense of doom. Your team is worried too. You are all in this together; you need your team and they need you. Find ways to turn your fear of the future into an opportunity - discuss new ways to be more efficient, innovative, and valuable for your customers.
Serve your customers
Brainstorm about how the needs of your customers might change during a recession. What new opportunities to serve the needs of your customers can you find? How might their needs be changing? Work with the change in demand, not against it. For example, maybe you need to create a lower-cost version of a popular product that has less bells and whistles.
Make incremental change
Sometimes when change is looming we think we have to make a major pivot in our business. While major change is sometimes needed, that is more rare. Instead, focus on what you do well. Make incremental changes that will add up over time. For example, how can you shave some time off your customer service response time? Could you automate just one customer support question? Would a new tool or software product help reduce expenses? Can you find a new supplier with better terms? Is it time to tweak your monthly advertisement? Give challenges to your team to find a new process or product that is just a little bit better. Over time those changes will add up.
A last word of encouragement
My first decade in business was stressful because I didn’t know the difference between what I could change and what was outside of my control. I thought I could fix every problem I faced in business and make it right with good operational effectiveness. I now realize that my business is at the mercy of macroenvironmental forces like government change, supply and demand, and trends. I needed to learn to adapt to the changing environment as if I were steering the tiller on a boat. I can’t sail upstream - I must follow the current and meet my customers where they are. You bring something unique to the world. Find the intersection of where you and your team’s unique skills meet the needs of the world. Then hold on tightly as you confidently navigate through the waves.
Originally posted on https://www.jenniferbrogee.com/ 11/2/2022