Everyone’s talking about it, winter is coming. What exactly do I mean? A nasty economic downturn is on the horizon. When will it come? We can’t predict an exact time frame with much confidence, but most experts assume within the next 1–3 years.
We’re Due a Recession
How can we be sure of this claim? It seems a little unlikely considering that the US may soon be celebrating its longest ever term of economic expansion. As we speak, the economy is doing just fine, but something will eventually kill it. We don’t know whether it will be caused by global debt crisis, international trade relations or cybersecurity issues. The question is when, and how us business owners can be prepared for it.
What we Saw From 2008–2010
From 2007–2010, we saw over 600,000 Australian businesses open-up, and close down within the span of 36 months. We also saw over 25,000 pre-existing businesses pack-up shop due to high overheads, increasing debt and lack of cash flow. In the UK, we saw 50 small businesses close each day over during the peak of the GFC. In the US, there was a total of 170,000 pre-existing small business closures from 2007–2010, decreasing the rate of self employment by a shocking 4%.
The trend is clear. When cashflow slows down and you’ve got overheads to pay, you’re f**ked.
Survival of the fittest
“Survival of the fittest” applies in two ways when it comes to surviving a severe economic downturn. The first would be your business’s fitness. How much are you spending? Where can you cut costs? Do you really need X,Y & Z to operate successfully? This is where most businesses place efforts and attention during the colder months, rightly so. However, most businesses simply take this to an extreme and essentially curl up into a ball in hopes that they can make it through the night, that’s where the action takers step in and disrupt.
This leads to the second application of the phrase. Which businesses are fit enough and smart enough to realise the opportunity which this creates and capitalise on it?
What I’m saying is while it’s crucial to lean down and cut unnecessary costs, it’s equally as important to recognise that this may be an opportunity for you to crush your competitors.
How to Stand Out:
Becoming first choice amongst your target customers is becoming more important than ever before. If you’re not visible, you won’t survive. If you don’t stand out, your competitors will crush you.
Search Engine Ranking and Google My Business
Tried and trusted, search engines aren’t going anywhere. Search engines have been and will be for years to come, the №1 place where people search for and find businesses. No matter what type of business you own, if you’re not somewhere on page 1, you’re going to be beaten by your competition who are.
These days it’s not just your search engine ranking that’s important, but also your Google My Business Ranking and listing quality. Let’s use an example here:
Say you’re in a new town and you’re looking for somewhere to eat lunch, so you google Italian restaurants in Example Location. You see there’s a few close-by, one’s got a few pictures of the food, the restaurant and the logo, maybe also 30–40 reviews. Another one has a pretty similar listing, nothing special but a decent looking place nonetheless. But then you see the next listing, they’ve got an awesome video of the kitchen, the food being made and the inside restaurant. Their images are on point and the food looks WAY better than the other two, they’ve also got higher ratings and more reviews.
Which place are you going to go for? Yeah, and the rest of the population will do the exact same. If you’re not first choice, you’re last. That’s the difference between businesses that will thrive in the recession, and those who will shrivel up.
Your search engine visibility matters, your online reputation matters and your Google My Business listing content really matters.
Social Media Content
People engage with content that entertains, so start producing content that entertains your audience and markets your business. It doesn’t matter what type of business you own, this applies to everyone.
Every single day I stumble across content and ads from businesses who are killing it on social media and it’s paying off for their businesses. You don’t have to be an expert videographer to create an engaging video, everyone starts somewhere and people appreciate genuine content. Just pull out your phone and start documenting your business’s journey on social media, with both photos and videos.
Share stories and case studies from your most successful clients, turn those people into walking billboards for your company. Share photos of people enjoying your food, let the world know what types of people eat at your restaurant. Post a transformation video of your latest orthodontic client for all the other mums and dads to see, put the story out there!
While your competitors cut ad-spend and go into hiding, that’s when you need to sweep up all of the underpriced traffic and take first place over your competitors in the eyes of the public.
Stand out. That’s what matters most. A recession will seperate the businesses who are determined to thrive from those who are destined to fail. The one’s who go into hiding will lose, the one’s who capitalise on the opportunity and put in the work to stand out in search engines and on social media will win.