Recession-Proof Business Strategy: How to Outlast a Downturn

mike gellman
Mike Gellman
Apr 9, 2020

Unprecedented is the word everybody uses. And it surely is an apt word. We have simply never seen a global crisis like this. What should we be doing to ensure that our businesses will survive? Well…

No one knows for sure. We’re all winging it. Still, we can certainly take lessons learned from other tragedies and downturns to plot out our course. While managing Spire, I’ve been through 9/11 and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis. In both of those cases, I somehow managed to (barely) emerge (relatively) unscathed. How? By doing the following:

  1. Being relentless. Do not accept defeat! You lose a client? Find another! You run out of money? Rob a liquor store (just kidding)! Do whatever it takes to get out alive.
  2. Staying busy. Idle hands kill companies! Work extra hard now. If you don’t have anything to do, start cold calling. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
  3. Getting creative. Put on that thinking cap! No one wants what you’re selling? Sell something else. You ain’t too proud to pivot! Become what the market wants you to be.
  4. Being flexible. Everyone is struggling, so be open to options. Payment plans? Bartering? Different models? Lower prices? Higher prices? Sure! It’s all worth a shot. Something is probably better than nothing.
  5. Staying sane. You’re your greatest asset. Don’t let the stress get to you. Work out, go to a shrink, commiserate with peers, watch Tiger King. Figure out what’s necessary to get your brain in order, then do that.

The pandemic will end and so will the recession. You just gotta outlast them. It’s a standoff, but one that you can, and will, win.

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