Best Practices for Managing a Business Through an Economic Downturn

Best Practices for Managing a Business Through an Economic Downturn

  • Learn about the most important step you can take to protect and manage your business during an economic downturn.
  • Find out how to reduce your inventory during economic uncertainty.
  • Learn why it’s so important to stick to what you do best during this time.
  • Find out why you should take a look at your competition during an economic downturn.

The United States economy is nothing if not cyclical. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on when, exactly, you're trying to operate a business. One recent study asserts that roughly 57% of small business owners say they fear the U.S. economic downturn will only get worse.

Many are worried that if something doesn't change, things could get as bad as they were in April 2020. Many small business owners are still feeling the impact of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that took place.

But the key difference here is that nobody really saw the Coronavirus – or its long-lasting damage – coming at the time. Indeed, it took virtually everyone by surprise. Now, people have a chance to prepare themselves to hopefully mitigate as much risk from another such event as possible – and Fiducial can tell you how.

Best Practices for Managing Your Business Through an Economic Downturn

Your Business and the Economy: What You Need to Know

What is the most important step you can take to help protect and manage your business during an economic downturn? It involves paying more attention to your cash flow than ever.

Cash flow was always one of the biggest reasons why small businesses prematurely shutter their doors. The risk is even greater during the unpredictability of a downturn.

So, how do you keep your business as healthy as possible? You need to do whatever it takes to bring in more income than you're spending on expenses each month. This isn't something you're going to be able to do overnight – it's not like flipping a light switch. You need to talk to your Fiducial advisor today to see what you can cut, if necessary, to help create a stable foundation from which to work.

An economic downturn means taking stock of inventory

Along the same lines, if yours is a business that keeps an inventory on hand, you'll want to take care to start reviewing your inventory management practices sooner rather than later.

Inventory is one of the biggest overhead costs for every organization. Many see it as a "necessary evil." But what they need to understand is that it doesn't need to be nearly as large of a burden as some allow it to become.

Gather your team and see what you can do to reduce the amount of inventory you have on-site. Go over your analytics and historical reporting to make sure that you're not producing more products than you're actually selling. Oftentimes reducing the amount of inventory also allows you to reduce your warehousing costs as well. Why? Because you're no longer paying for products that are just sitting in a warehouse somewhere waiting to be sold.

Is this a good time to diversify?

In the run-up to any economic downturn, it is also important to double down on that which you do better than anyone else. As businesses continue to grow, they often add new products and services in the name of "diversification." If the economy were verifiably strong, that would be a relatively decent time for experimentation.

An economic downturn is not that time. Instead, focus on everything you do best and let the rest fall by the wayside for the time being. Remember that you're not necessarily trying to grow bigger during this period – you're trying to do what you have to in order to survive.

Look at your competition during an economic downturn

Finally, consider attempting to win over the customers of your competition now before things get particularly tricky in the marketplace. Figure out which of your competitors are most successful and pay attention to what they are doing. Do they have a particularly compelling value proposition? Do they know their audience better than you know yours?

Likewise, are there any gaps that you can identify that are potentially able to be taken advantage of? If you start winning over new customers today, you'll increase the chances that they will be there for you when you truly need them tomorrow.

In the end, it's simply not possible to avoid an economic downturn altogether. They've happened before and they will certainly happen again. But what you can do is make sure that you're prepared for this inevitability, which is what these best practices are all about.

Want more information on how your small business can protect itself in the event of another economic downturn? Have any additional questions that you'd like to go over with someone in a bit more detail? Call Fiducial at 1-866-FIDUCIAL or make an appointment at one of our office locations to discuss your situation.

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For more small business COVID-19 resources, visit Fiducial’s Coronavirus Update Center to find information on SBA loans, tax updates, the Paycheck Protection Program, and paid sick and family leave.