Watching the news can be pretty soul destroying at times. They used to run “happy” stories at the end of bulletins so that people went away with a more positive outlook. However, you’d be hard pressed today to find people who watch a full news programme in its entirety. Most never reach the end because they cannot get through the deluge of negativity.
From an economic viewpoint alone, it looks increasingly likely though that things are going to get worse, before they get better. Whatever the cause it seems as if a recession is coming and for those that remember the last one, in 2008, they know that it’s going to be tough. That said, business is cyclical, there are going to be good times followed by bad times. You only need to look at the High Street to know that things are not great. Consumer confidence is low, unemployment is rising and growth is reversing. Businesses and shops are closing and even well-established names are finding it tough to survive. Yet not all needs to be doom and gloom. In this article we’ll look at the difficulties that lie ahead, but more importantly at the best way to deal with them in advance. Preparation is key. Nobody knows what the future may hold, but it’s always better to be ready. Read on for a guide on surviving an economic downturn.
It will happen
You might not know when the downturn will start or end, but it will both start and end. That is certain. There is nothing wrong in being positive, but this has to be tempered by realism. The decisions a business makes at critical times will determine how well it copes when things, often outside of its control, go wrong. The implementation of a few basic practices in advance will help you to survive the worst that a recession can throw at you. You may even come to thrive at a time when others are struggling.
Cash is king
It is the lifeblood of a business and how it flows will determine its health. Many restrict themselves to thinking about how cash flows in, whilst neglecting to realise how quickly it flows out. One of the easiest ways to maintain a healthier cash flow is to review your outgoings. Think of it another way, to get more money in you’ll need increased sales revenue and that cannot be done overnight. Reducing your outgoings, say for example by changing your courier and logistics partner, will have an immediate effect. Remember that in the same way you are looking for new business so are other companies, like your suppliers, so it is a great time to agree new arrangements, build new partnerships whilst elsewhere trimming unnecessary expenses.
Same Day Couriers Direct are a great example to consider. Built up from humble beginnings, they know how important it is to maintain customer relations and their own high work standards whilst maintaining a fluidity and continuity of service. They are key components in the logistics chain and offer businesses a real and sustainable alternative to the usual providers. Each and every customer matters and, because they are also in business themselves, they understand why this is. No accounts are overlooked and standards across the board are maintained. With this attitude they might be the ideal company to turn to when you’re looking for new partners during a crisis.
During good times there might be enough business to go round for all. It is at these very moments that you should be thinking about increasing your share of the “pie”. Creating new business is extremely hard, but earning a larger slice of what is available is less so. To do so you need to focus on your competition – what do they do badly that you can do well? Moreover, what do they do well which might make you look bad? Think about marketing, often the first thing people cut to save money when perhaps it should actually be the last. If you can win a share of the business that they hold, when things do get tough, you should be able to hold onto that same share throughout. Yes, maybe the “pie” will be smaller, but your share will keep you going until things pick up.
Talking about customers, never forget the ones you have already got. You’ve done the hard work winning their trust so don’t throw it all away chasing new business by neglecting them. If things are tough, reach out to them and see if they can help – you might be able to reciprocate too. Your customer service levels have to be maintained at the highest possible standards as there will be competitors looking to take your share of that “pie” too!
You may feel that you are alone at a time of crisis, but you’re not. Communication is a key element in implementing a survival strategy. Who needs to know what you are doing? Well obviously you do, but so do your employees and colleagues. Don’t dive headlong into a programme of change without letting them know, otherwise how will they support the change through appropriate action. Your customers will need to know too. Is there a change in pricing, in delivery or logistics? It is much easier to deal with change smoothly when everybody else knows it is happening. Be proactive, don’t rely on dealing with problems retrospectively. Your suppliers will need to know about proposed changes too, be it to stock levels you might look to hold or to payment terms. It is always better to avoid a backlash by not having one!
The world of business is cut throat at the best of times. During a recession or downturn the fear factor pushes this into overdrive. Often those that take bold steps do better, but each step still needs to be based on an overall commercial strategy. It is not changing for the sake of change, it is adapting to survive. Incremental improvements across the board can make all the difference and all areas should be reviewed. It doesn’t matter that you’ve had the same courier for the last 10 years if there are alternatives out there. Loyalty is a two way street. Ask yourself are they as equally loyal to you and are you getting the best service possible from them?
Don’t fear being bold in the face of adversity. After all it is your business that is at stake. You’ll need a well thought out plan based on a number of possible scenarios and outcomes; the support of those who work for you and wherever possible the best business allies to stand side by side with you to face down the dangers of a downturn. You can survive an economic downturn but, like everything else in business, it may not be straightforward or easy. You just have to keep going.
Same Day Couriers Direct are just the partner you need during tough times and at all times. Make a bold decision and ring them today.