How Can Businesses Weather the Recession Storm?

18/07/2013 15:44 BST | Updated 15/09/2013 10:12 BST

Keeping a business afloat in tough economic times can be difficult. Sales may not be looking as prosperous as they once were and things may not look like they will change any time soon. However, there are numerous ways company owners can work to counter the current economic climate, allowing their business to weather the recession storm.


Take a look at the big picture

Taking a step back and analysing each process of your business can often assist in streamlining and erasing errors. For example if, upon analysis, it's clear that some employees are failing to reach their goals, the knee-jerk reaction could be to fire the said employees.

However, reducing the number of staff automatically creates more work for the remaining staff. This creates a domino effect - if the remaining staff struggle with their work load, it will be necessary to hire again, meaning more time out for those at the top of the business to complete the hiring process and train a new member of staff. A better idea might be to provide extra training for the members of staff who are not meeting their targets in order to improve processes your business already goes through. The errors may be coming from the top, caused by a lack of clarity, rather than from the bottom, generated by a lack of organisation.

'Be penny wise, not pound foolish'

There's little doubt that in busy periods, the lower paid members of staff may question whether they are getting paid enough regarding the number or intensity of their tasks. Therefore it might be worth your while to employ entry level workers at a slightly higher wage. Doing this may increase productivity and motivation for an extended period of time, ensuring that they won't defect when the going gets tough.

Adopt a quality management system

Quality Management Systems (QMS) allow businesses to implement numerous plans that can deal with sustainability and transparency, but also allow for the introduction of a continuous improvement cycle. The ISO 9001 certificate helps companies save money through looking critically at their process. Surveys have reported saving up to 50% through the implementation of the ISO 9000 family - the most widely implemented process globally.

Obtain more money

Yes, this article is about how to make savings during the recession but if you're confident that you have a good business plan, taking out a loan or investing some of your savings to help you through the period of spending cuts can be a good idea.

Putting money back in to your business can resolve short term cash problems and once the economy gathers pace again you will hopefully reap the rewards of investment.

Don't make rash decisions

All of the above are general pointers to general situations. However, the fact of the matter is that only you know your business and only you can make the final decision as to what needs to be done if you encounter problems caused by economic difficulties. There is no rulebook. Be decisive but make sure to consider a range of possible solutions to any problems.

The economic down turn isn't ideal for anybody, but most will weather the storm so long as a level head is maintained throughout.