Small business owners are often reluctant to spend money or make changes during an economic downturn. However, downturns can be an ideal time to invest in your business and improve day-to-day operations in ways that will have lasting effects.

Every market downturn creates opportunities for innovative business owners. Rather than simply worrying about the situation and hoping things will get better, now is the time to proactively strengthen your operations and position yourself for growth when the economy recovers.

Strengthen relationships

Use this time as an opportunity to reach out to existing customers and ask questions. Reach out to clients you haven’t spoken with in a while and see how they are doing. Such a simple action now can pay off immensely in terms of goodwill and opportunities for referrals once the market improves.

Networking during an economic downturn can be useful to understand how other businesses are coping. See what is working for them or where they require help. You may also discover new opportunities, customers, staff, suppliers and business partners with minimal cost to your business. Consider forming alliances with other businesses and look for opportunities to pair your service or product with something that complements it.

Work with your team

Build morale and motivation by clearly communicating with your team what is happening within the business. Try to involve them in decision-making and finding solutions. This is a great opportunity for you and your staff to enhance your skills. If there’s a course that someone has always wanted to take or if they have always wanted to learn about a different part of the business, this may be a great time for them to undertake additional duties.

Test your contingency plan

As a small business owner, you have ideally planned for market downturns and have strategies in place to activate during times of disruption. Now is an excellent time to review those plans to see what is working and what can be improved upon amid these unprecedented circumstances. 

Review your expenses

Reach out to your bank and negotiate lower interest rates on loans or banking fees. During economic downturns, most banking institutions are more than happy to retain business and help their loyal clients. This isn’t limited to banking. Reach out to vendors that provide you services and see if there are opportunities where you can renegotiate terms or costs. Remember, they are going through the same market conditions you are.

Use the resources available to you

There are many provincial and federal programs available to support you and your business during tough economic times. Take a look at the Government of Canada’s website to see resources available close to where you live.

You’ve worked hard to build your business and create the life you want for yourself and your family and we want to help you protect it. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.