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Transforming Recession Into Opportunity

I was listening to one of my favorite coaching / exit planning podcasts yesterday and the topic was the likelihood of a recession, and the likely depth of said impending recession. I found truth in that episode, and it got me thinking. However, I had a problem... all of my recent blog posts have been a little dark! Yes, sometimes tough news is what we need to hear, but there are always silver-linings in any situation. It was time for a more upbeat post. So here we go...

Should a deeper recession come, or even a light recession depending on how you define it, there will be opportunities that arise for those that are prepared. Using a model that I’m borrowing from another trainer, I believe those opportunities can be described in three words: Out-work, Out-learn, and Out-last.

  • Out-work. In a recession, I do firmly believe that one very viable option is simply to work a little more. It doesn’t need to be drastic, like working every weekend all of the sudden. However, big results can often come from relatively small changes in effort. Getting started thirty minutes early, when done regularly, is an extra six percent effort. An hour early is an extra twelve percent when done regularly. Interestingly enough, it’s difficult to put in this extra effort on a regular basis because it requires discipline. If you do it long enough to make it a habit though, even if it’s one you will drop later when the economy improves, it will make a difference for your business during these times of uncertainty. Out-working the competition can be an effective strategy.

  • Out-learn. An economic downturn is an opportunity to prove to the marketplace why your product or service is one (or the one) that they should continue to choose. How do you do this? By making it better than the competition from a quality perspective. Learning what you need to learn in order to better educate your team or make enhancements to your products or services can go a long way in a down economy. As competitors are tightening down on their budgets and starting to skimp on the quality of what they provide to their customers, you start to be even more recognized for the quality, and the value, that you are providing to yours. Such recognition can turn into increased market share, which is what you need in a down economy.

  • Out-last. I left this for last (no pun intended) for a reason. Economic downturns are hard, and I mean very hard, on the emotional states of business owners. You are used to working hard, and all of the sudden you have to work even harder, and for less results. This can lead to burn out, and frankly just giving up for many owners. Businesses get sold for below-market sums, and many simply get shut down as the owners decide that they have had enough. Not to be cold, but this equates to opportunity for those that continue to operate. With less competition in the market, you gain market share and will be even better positioned than you are now when the economy rebounds. And it will, it’s just a matter of time. Simply out-lasting your competitors during a downturn is an amazingly simple, yet amazingly effective, strategy. Don’t give up.

I said this was going to be a more upbeat post, and it is if you look at the hope that comes with each point. Yes, recessions cause discomfort and outright pain sometimes, but there is a tremendous growth opportunity that comes with both discomfort and pain as well. It’s much like exercise... it hurts when you are doing it, but in the end you are much better off.

Stay strong. I wish you the best in your business.

Mark Goldman

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