Planning · March 25, 2021

Build a Business Recovery Plan to Emerge Stronger After a Slowdown

While slowdowns in the economy are challenging and have a major impact on small businesses, they don't last forever.

In fact, businesses that survive difficult times frequently emerge stronger than ever with the help of a business recovery plan.


Planning for better times

Throughout the summer of 2020, as the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic became known, reports of business closures spread across the US. While many were in hard-hit industries like travel, tourism and hospitality, manufacturers also struggled as global supply chains dried up.

Despite the numerous hardships, many businesses continue to survive and even thrive. Frequently, the principal keys to success include the ability to flex into a leaner model, innovation in meeting changing market demands and an emphasis on service.

Think of these principles as you plan for the time when economic sluggishness fades and growth returns. Here are five tips to keep in mind as you begin your planning.

1 Remember your roots

A lull in activity is a great time to revisit the reason why you got into business—especially if you haven't considered it in a while. Has the business rationale changed? Does it fulfill a new mission or purpose? If so, your employees, customers and prospects will appreciate hearing about the new perspective.

2 Get smarter

What does your business do well? What's nonessential? By taking an honest look at every aspect of your company, you'll likely find a weak spot or two. For some, it could be a back-office responsibility, such as payroll or HR processes. For others, it could be a supply chain that needs updating or a legacy product that's outlived its value.

Automate your accounting, tap into technology, sharpen your workforce's skill set and streamline as much as possible, conserving resources and positioning yourself to seamlessly scale up the business down the road.

3 Keep your ear to the ground

Where's the marketplace headed? Are pandemic-driven trends and changes in customer behavior (such as heightened e-commerce, contactless payments, home-based workplaces and aggressive sanitizing requirements) likely to stick around? If you believe they will, explore how to make them work best with your business and strengthen your company's digital backbone.

4 Run the numbers

Eliminate unnecessary costs. Make tactical investments in upgrades and new equipment while suppliers are hungry for business. Take advantage of ultra-low interest rates to finance strategic acquisitions, refinance older and costlier debt, and build up your cash cushion.

5 Keep spreading the news

Thanks to social media and email, marketing on a shoestring budget doesn't have to appear desperate. As long as it's done smartly, your target audiences might not even realize that you're running lean. The key is to focus on your one or two best outlets (such as Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn) and deliver relevant content that customers and prospects find valuable on a consistent basis.

Help is nearby

To help ensure that your business is prepared for the inevitable market shift upwards, developing a flexible business recovery plan during challenging times—and enlisting the support of a valuable strategic partner such as your business banker—can better position your business for the rebound.

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