Whisper it. Don’t speak of it too loudly but whatever way you look at the world today a recession is coming. Ireland’s economy is growing yet the grim reality of the war in Ukraine, rising inflation and the looming cost of living crisis indicates that businesses are set to face challenging times ahead.
Top economist David McWilliams recently shared on his podcast that Ireland is headed for a “creeping, short recession” so we need to actively prepare for what could be a dark and difficult winter.
As a B2B business owner, what can you do? Distribute newsletters to clients declaring a retreat to your Doomsday bunker with a stockpile of canned foods to wait it out. Or, do you lean into change, successfully strategise and recession-proof your business?
A time of uncertainty calls for great leadership. To steer your business through economic and political instability you need to set out a clear marketing strategy that will help you stay true to your business goals.
Change is here and the quicker you learn to adapt the faster your business will evolve and grow. So before you run for the bunker here are 6 helpful tips to help strengthen your business in tough economic times.
Having clear business goals will give you focus, motivate your employees and allow you to set targets that will drive growth. They don’t even have to be long-term; short-term well-defined goals will get your company moving in the right direction.
Budgeting is vital for business success. Draft a financial plan for all possible contingencies to help prepare your business for the unknown. Even having a small percentage of your budget set aside for circumstances beyond your control will provide you with some flexibility to adapt to a changing environment.
Proper financial analysis will also help you to set a realistic budget for each quarter. You should budget for staffing, software, and other regular outgoings to estimate your company's anticipated revenue and expenses for each period.
3. Business as usual!
Try as best you can to keep your business running as normal. Look at ways to cut expenses without affecting how your business performs.
Be open with your B2B client. Understand how any downturn might be impacting their business so that you can potentially adapt your propositions to suit their changing circumstances.
Listening to your client and providing a plan of positive action will help mitigate their concerns and build a stronger relationship.
5. Track performance more granularly
Regularly analysing and tracking the performance of your business will give you a clearer understanding of how well your business is doing and will be valuable in making plans, adjustments and improvements.
Track everything. Continual assessment of your business should be routine at all times but it’s even more critical when in the grip of an economic downturn. In doing this you can identify ways to respond to sustain growth, which involves reviewing costs, expenses, traffic, ROI, business measures you’ve tried and personnel you’ve hired.
It also helps to conduct competitor analysis and then use all these valuable insights to redefine your business goals.
6. Keep marketing your propositions
In a buoyant market, many, if not all of your marketing activities will generate a positive ROI. This changes in a downturn so you need to be much more selective about the marketing activity that you choose to engage in.
What works best will differ depending on multiple factors but it’s worth starting with the top five digital marketing strategies that have proven to deliver a relatively high ROI:
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Social Media Marketing
This useful article from Sendoso outlines each one in more detail and explains why they effectively deliver market growth.
Scale back but only where necessary
The proverb is true: you have got to spend money to make money so don’t stop spending. However, you should adapt to how you spend. Get your business priorities clear and focus on the clients, expenditures, propositions and activities that you deem most valuable.
In a crisis, you might face slimmer profit margins but the real test now is how you rise to the challenge, adapt and find new ways to leverage opportunities so your business can come out on top. 👊