This is something we’ve seen coming for a while now, but as of two weeks ago the UK officially entered a recession. Of course, this is unsettling news for all of us, and with tough times ahead most business owners are likely to be affected by the unpredictable economic climate.
So is there anything you can do to take care of your business and protect it against the worst of what’s to come? We’ve put together some useful steps you can take to prepare your business for the difficulties ahead, so you can ride out the storm and maybe even continue to grow.
1. Review your finances
You need to know what position you’re in financially so you can head into this recession with all the information at your fingertips. Cashflow can often be a big issue for businesses during a recession, so you want to make sure you have funds in the bank to dip into if times get hard. Take a look at all your business’ assets – bank accounts, outstanding invoices, property, equipment, stock on the shelves – and work out how much you currently have and if there are any ways you can free up some cash now to tide you over in the future.
2. Focus on efficiency
Inefficient systems can cost you money and time, two things you will need to keep a close eye on in the coming months. Take an honest look at every aspect of how your business runs, from day-to-day tasks to supply chains to marketing strategy, and see if you can find ways to make your processes cheaper, simpler or quicker. For example, you don’t need to be wasting man hours on entering information into a database when a new piece of software could automate the job and do it for you in half the time. Improving your systems may involve investing money upfront in order to make savings down the line, so make sure you can afford this before you make any big changes.
3. Diversify your customer base
Your business stands a better chance if you aren’t relying on just a handful of clients or a narrow niche of customers, so now is the time to diversify. This doesn’t mean you should make a risky leap into a new market or abandon your current sources of income – instead you should make use of all the contacts you have built up and pursue opportunities that you might have overlooked before. If you’ve previously had a steady stream of sales and neglected your marketing in other areas, you will need to put yourself out there more: the broader your customer base, the stronger your position will be.
4. Find good suppliers
Good suppliers can make all the difference when things get tight for a business. You need people you can rely on, who provide an affordable service, and you also need to make sure you have at least one backup for every supplier you use. That way, if one of them doesn’t make it through, you can quickly switch to the next with minimal disruption for your customers. You might also think about taking on a virtual assistant – a flexible worker who can pick up jobs as and when you need them, without being tied into a long-term contract.
5. Rethink your marketing
If you currently spend a lot on your marketing, this may be one of the areas where you can reduce your costs. You might find that extensive campaigns or colourful printed brochures aren’t the most cost-effective way to get the word out during a recession, so you might choose to refocus your efforts onto email marketing or social media instead. In the short term, your marketing may need to be more agile, so you can respond to the situation as it develops.
6. Communicate, communicate, communicate
The best way to work your way through the uncertainty is to communicate openly and often with everyone involved with your business. How your business operates is likely to change in the coming months, and it will be really valuable to be honest with your customers and staff about the challenges you’re facing and what you’re doing about them. Most people will forgive disruptions as long as they’re kept in the loop, so make sure everybody knows how to contact you and respond to their questions as promptly as you can.
Do you need extra business support to get you through this difficult time? Get Ahead VA can help – our team of virtual assistants can take on jobs whenever you need them, giving you the flexibility to focus on the most important parts of your business. To find out how we can help, get in touch today on 01483 332 230, or email [email protected]