Owning a small business has never been easy. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to keep your company afloat. But when you bring a business that you love into being, when you watch it begin to grow and thrive, it makes all the sleepless nights and the endless hours of toil all worthwhile.
You would do anything to protect your company from any threat that may arise. Unfortunately, however, the last few years have been replete with such threats. From the worst public health crisis in modern history to devastating lockdowns to destructive supply chain crises, entrepreneurs have had to overcome more obstacles in three years than many have faced in a lifetime.
And now another threat looms on the horizon, as an increasing number of economists speculate that a global recession may, indeed, be imminent. But what can small business owners do to ensure their company stands the test of time and survive a recession, whether it strikes tomorrow or ten years from now?
If you want to protect your company from a potential economic downturn, the first and most important thing you can do is unleash the power of business analytics. This should involve a comprehensive profile of both the internal conditions of your company and the market.
Business analytics, for instance, will enable you to identify and remediate weaknesses in your organization. You may find, for example, that your company is experiencing a spike in product returns.
Armed with this data, you can then begin exploring the root causes of the problem. You may learn that the issue is the result of a manufacturing defect or it derives from a problem with how the product is marketed and promoted, leading consumers to expect something other than what the product delivers.
The key point here is that business analytics help you pinpoint problems within your organization, which in turn, enables you to define causes and solutions. The result is a more efficient, effective, and resilient organization — one prepared to weather any storm.
In addition to ensuring that your company is performing optimally through business analytics, you should also focus on assessing your company’s financial status. If a recession appears to be in the future, then you may want to put large but non-essential investments on hold for a while.
Instead, focus on paying off high-interest debts if you can. Also, because the longevity of your business is the preeminent concern when you’re bracing for a probable recession, make building up your company’s financial reserves a primary goal.
This will give you the agility you need to roll with turbulent economic times — from declines in consumer demand to supplier and supply chain challenges to shrinking investor funding.
When it comes to streamlining your business and making it more resilient and agile in the face of a looming recession, optimizing your tech is a great option. If a recession does strike, you may not be able to keep a full workforce. Automation tools can help you maintain productivity levels even if you need to temporarily scale back your staffing.
Best of all, automation technologies may increase your productivity and efficiency to the point that you do not need to resort to painful worker furloughs. Investing in artificial intelligence (AI) systems, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, and other tech innovations can increase business capacity, improve accuracy and efficiency in the workflow, and facilitate strategy development and risk management.
AI systems facilitate data-driven decision-making through their powerful machine-learning capabilities. This includes an extraordinary capacity for analyzing internal data, market trends, and consumer behavior to predict short-term and long-range market demand. By using AI, you can make informed decisions on how to orient your company and manage risk in challenging economic conditions.
Similarly, through the use of IoT devices, you can enhance your inventory management and supply chain processes. Learning warehouses, for example, can track inventories, monitor demand, and automate replenishment orders. IoT sensors, likewise, can track products across the entire supply chain from the manufacturer to the point of sale. These devices can even monitor shipping and storage conditions to ensure that optimal temperature and humidity levels are maintained. This ensures that products are always available whenever and wherever they are needed, thus supporting revenue while reducing surpluses, shortages, and waste.
No one wants to face another market crisis, but if a recession is truly coming, then it’s incumbent upon every small business owner to take action now. The good news is that it is possible to prepare your business to survive, endure, and emerge from the crisis stronger than ever before. The key is to be proactive, deliberate, strategic, and informed.