It would be an understatement to say the last few years have been challenging for business owners. The COVID-19 pandemic upended just about every norm we’d come to take for granted—such as having the ability to serve customers in person and receive supplies on demand. Just as many industries began to recover, inflation reared its ugly head, reaching heights not seen in many years and causing a new set of problems for businesses.
Some pundits believe a recession is in our future. And while many business owners may panic and pull back on any plans they had for growth given that forecast, others will see this as a time to think, create and innovate. Consider the following three ways to grow your business during a downturn.
Offer Something Different, Fresh, New
Think about the pain points your customers are experiencing to determine how you can innovate to serve them in a different way. Airbnb (2008) and Uber (2009) conceived of their offerings during a recession—banking on the fact that thrifty millennials wanted cheap ways to travel. Payment provider Square (now Block) took off in 2009, buoyed by lingering distrust in traditional finance providers.
You may want to put your energy toward creating new products or services that respond to customers’ need for alternative energy sources to combat climate change, greater food safety or more dependable supply chains. Or consider tweaks to your existing offerings that will attract new customers.
Create Affordable Solutions
When customers are tightening their purse strings, they will appreciate seeing a business respond by trying to make its products or services more affordable. McDonald’s adopted Henry Ford’s assembly-line approach to food service during the recession that followed World War II. In addition to preparing food faster and lowering prices, this then-novel approach provided jobs for a wider range of people; in 1953, McDonald’s began franchising its stores and the rest is history.
You may want to take a hard look at your processes to see what changes are possible to streamline them with the thought that you can pass along any savings you realize to your customers.
Make Bold And Strategic Moves
Instead of pulling back, do something unexpected that will better serve your customers’ needs. Adobe was one of the top transformers from 2009 to 2019, with its revenues tripling and stock price rising 29% over that decade. The catalyst for that success was building a new growth business related to advertising services and analytics using the then-new software-as-a-service model.
You may want to look at any products and services that seem to be languishing and consider whether they can be retooled or replaced with something that will be more appealing to customers.
Instead of letting a downturn derail you, be proactive to ensure your business is one of those that survives and even thrives in the face of adversity. If you want to employ any of three options detailed above, a working capital loan, small business loan or equipment financing might be part of your growth strategy. Unlike traditional lenders like banks, whose application and approval processes can be cumbersome and often end with a “no,” alternative lenders are in your corner and focused on helping you make your business dreams come true.
If you have any questions about growing your business in a downturn, give Clear Skies Capital a call at 800-230-9822. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you qualify for.