When experiencing a business slowdown, many small business owners are left scratching their heads without an idea of what or how to take advantage of the situation. Whether it’s from an economic recession or downturn in a marketplace, the impact on a business can be difficult to handle.
When their business was booming, the phone was ringing off the hook, business was coming from all over and the owners were doing very little in the way of proactive marketing because they didn’t have to. They were actually turning away business because they could not handle the additional work.
In the slow times, the phone has stops ringing, the business has gone away and if there is a little work to be had, there are 40 different companies going after the same piece of pie. The business is certainly not turning down work.
One of the major dynamics that occur during slowdowns is an unmasking or exposure of company weaknesses and complacencies, in both the financial and operational parts of a business that develop during the boom times. Business owners who tend to believe business will always be there during boom times and in lean times, typically have absolutely no idea what to do to survive. They have been exposed. Some owners survive business slowdowns, but many do not. The biggest difference is a reactive vs. proactive approach.
Many business owners will struggle with how to be proactive in slow times. They may see their competition going out of business. They may interpret that as a sign that the economy is still very bad and has claimed another victim. Is that a bad thing?
On one hand, it does mean that the economy may still be struggling and that there was not enough work to support your competition, but on the other hand, it’s one less competitor in your market that you have to compete against for the available work that still exists. The greatest opportunities will go to the few survivors of a difficult financial period or economic recession.
You, as a small business owner, can’t control the economy or any other macro issues that exist. The only real control you have is how you react to those things you cannot control and how you proceed with your own business.
If your business has been exposed during a slowdown, the only option moving forward is to address the exposed issues and make the course changes necessary for continued survival or your business will be the one that the other companies are discussing not surviving.
Every industry will ebb and flow during good times and bad economic times, the only difference between the businesses that do well and those that don’t will be what the owners did or didn’t do during those periods.
If you'd like to be more proactive and strategic about addressing some of the issues your business is facing, you can start by downloading our Strategic by Design Guide: Eliminate Over 80% of All Management Problems or request a no fee conversation with us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Terry McGill is a small business consultant and managing partner of Strategic Business Directs.