How SMBs can plan for post-recession success

03 May 2023

Tired of hearing about the UK’s impending recession? Unfortunately, it’s a topic that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

For SMB owners, the constant talk of a looming recession can be tough to bear. Still, you should take action to protect your business as best you can. However, so much of the media’s coverage of the recession focuses on surviving — but there’s less focus on what you can do now to ensure your business not only survives but flourishes after the recession ends.

That realisation inspired us to write this post on post-recession success. Read on to discover what steps your SMB can take during the recession to succeed and grow once it’s over.

5 ways to plan for post-recession success

Know what your customers need

If you’re already running an SMB, you’ll know a thing or two about your customers. Understanding their pain points, options, budget, and other essential details are fundamental to delivering the solutions they need. 

But think about how a recession could affect your customers. Will they have as much money to spend on your products as usual? How will their spending habits and priorities change with an economic downturn? 

Take a long, hard look at your customer base and your market. One of the most valuable ways to research customers and understand their current situation is to explore social media. What are people and businesses within your target audience(s) talking about? What concerns do they have, and how can you engage with them? 

Be proactive. Get involved in relevant conversations and address customer concerns. Let them know what your SMB is doing to ensure your products and services are adapting to market changes. 

Consider recession-proof markets

Another key step to add to your recession business strategy? Research recession-proof industries/markets and find out if you can sell to them. 

According to Forbes, some of the recession-proof (or at least recession-resistant) industries/markets include:

  • Consumer staples (food, drink, cleaning products)
  • Utilities (electricity, air conditioning)
  • Healthcare (medications, health services)
  • Information technology (computer hardware and software, internet services)
  • Communication (phone services, video-chat services)

Your products or services may not seem like an easy fit for some of these industries, but if you can start selling to businesses within these areas, you could discover a valuable source of revenue through the recession and beyond.

Focus on marketing

When you run an SMB, you may overlook and underestimate the value of marketing during an economic downturn. You might focus on other aspects of your business to achieve post-recession success, and before you know it, your marketing strategy has fallen by the wayside. 

But research shows that companies that invest in good marketing during a recession can come out on top. While spending on advertising dropped by 13% during the 2008 recession, businesses that continued to spend on marketing achieved 3.5x more brand visibility

And when more existing and potential customers know your SMB is out there, they’ll know where to go when they need the products and services you provide. 

One of the simplest steps towards post-recession success is to focus on satisfying and keeping your current customers. Winning new customers costs 5 to 25x more than retaining existing ones. So regularly sending relevant, helpful, valuable emails to customers can be an effective marketing tool. 

Encouraging communication on social media, providing information, and engaging with your followers can help you build trust, too.

Another marketing step to consider for your business strategy during a recession is to assess your overall approach. Do your current ads, emails, and social media posts seem a little outdated? Could customers feel that you’re ignoring the economic change and feel put off by that?

Assess your overall marketing strategy and view it through a customer’s eyes. If you spot improvement opportunities, spending money you can afford to spend on a refresh could pay off in the long run. 

Nurture your team

Sadly, recessions often force businesses to lay off employees. Sometimes, reducing your staff is the only option.  But if you have a little more wiggle room in your budget, it’s better to put time, energy, and funds into reinforcing your team instead. 

After all, hiring new staff and training them is expensive. And if you streamline your workforce during a recession, you’ll have to factor in these costs when the economy improves and you need more employees. 

Make internal training and development part of your recession business strategy. Provide employees with the skills, knowledge, and motivation to unlock their full potential. Not only will they be an even more valuable asset during the recession, they’ll help you achieve post-recession success, too. 

Your employees are also a terrific resource for post-recession planning. They have potentially years of insight into your operations, goals, and customers, which will empower them to help guide your business in the right direction.

Invest in technology

There’s no denying that technology is essential to all businesses these days. And investing in technology to streamline processes and optimise workflows is a great way to set up your SMB for post-recession success. 

Here are three types of technology you may want to try:

  • Recruitment technology for finding the ideal candidates for any job and making smarter, cost-effective hiring decisions.
  • Cloud software ensures your team can work remotely with colleagues worldwide, letting you switch to a remote working setup to reduce office overhead.
  • Order and inventory management software to make stock control, order fulfilment, and automation easier than ever.

Sure, using these tech tools requires an initial investment, but they’ll be worth the cost over time. Plus, the more you optimise and streamline your processes now, the better you’ll be prepared to grow after the recession is over. 

Get ready for what comes after the recession with Workhorse

Workhorse’s configurable order and inventory management software is ideal for SMBs. We can help you streamline and automate your operations on your terms. 

With Workhorse, you can just use the features you need today and leave the rest. And it’s easy to adjust your configuration at any time, so Workhorse can grow with you. 

Get in touch today to learn more about Workhorse and to schedule a demo.


Ready to transform your inventory management?

Ditch the spreadsheets and provide your team with the tools they need to make better inventory decisions.