You can thrive in a slow economy! Ask leaders and consultants about recession-proof businesses and you get examples that go far beyond the inevitable death and taxes-related occupations.
But most are also quick to point out that any business can be vulnerable to an economic downturn and any business can take steps to protect itself from a financial roller-coaster ride. “To protect against a recession, a business needs an inventive, flexible team that learns together, practices competitive intelligence together and collaborates together.” said industry consultant and analyst Steve Koss, who specializes in the business of large stadiums and other sports and entertainment venues.
But what do you do to protect your bottom line if you don’t have a naturally recession-resistant business? Besides focusing on your current marketing niche, you may follow the trend of many small business owners by diversifying where your income is coming from. Use your downtime to build a ‘business within the business’. Offering a new service that can be handled online, such as Internet Marketing, can make the best use of your time and build an income that has proved more stable during a recession.
Tom Mulhall, who was an accountant in Chicago for 15 years before opening a small luxury guest resort nine years ago in Palm Springs, says some of the same tricks that inoculate a business like his from economic downturns can help any business. When asked how to recession-proof a Chicago-area business, Mulhall said: “If you are in retail, diversify. If you’re in the suburbs, promote ways to encourage Chicago business, and vice versa. If you are a brick and mortar business, develop an on-line business.” Denise O’Berry gives four general guidelines to help any business keep going and growing even in hard times. “Focus on customer loyalty and retention, minimize debt, involve employees and be visible to your customers, your employees and your community,” said O’Berry, president of The Small Business Edge Corp. in Tampa, Fla. “Success in business is a lot about who knows you and what your company does. Make sure your marketing and public relations is done consistently; don’t just market when business is slow.”