5 Ways to Grow Your Business during Downturn or Recession

Successful businesses adopt an offensive strategy. Rather than contract their expenditures, operations and output, they expand them. And they do so in strategic ways that include certain steps.

Their business leaders search for new opportunities, adjust their marketing strategies and offers, and come up with creative solutions that help them ride the wave until the economy improves, and they reach more stable shores.

What do the companies Mailchimp, Warby Parker and Groupon have in common? They not only survived the last recession but have continued to thrive.

So, if you want to know how to increase sales during a recession then read on! Taking these deliberated steps during this recession would clear your doubt about the ability of companies to grow during the worst economic situation.

The Economic recession is one of the business cycles countries work towards avoiding. Though it will always occur, as it would be triggered by economic or political factors.

During this time, the panic mode of most businesses are activated, and opportunities provided by this economic condition are never utilized.

The posture of the founder of Apple Inc, Steve Jobs is one that offers great value to how best a company show reposition in this time.

Steve told the Fortune Magazine about his line of thought during America’s economic recession of 2008, “In fact, we were going to up our R&D budget so that we would be ahead of our competitors when the downturn was over. And that’s exactly what we did. And it worked.”

Let me guess your response to this scenario, “of course, Apple’s brand value is high, it has an impressive balance sheet, no debts and access to funds.”
Note that if your firm hope to find itself in a similar position of strength, then consider using this recession to achieve a comparative advantage and growth.
Here are four steps your company should consider now:

Essentials-Only Buyers

This segment is usually the most vulnerable and hardest hit financially. As a result, it ruthlessly reduces all types of spending by eliminating, postponing, decreasing or substituting purchases. Although lower-income consumers fall into this bracket, it can affect high-income consumers as well, particularly if health or employment circumstances take a turn for the worse.


This is one step most companies drop during low demand and economic downturn. Rather, you should consider spending on R&D towards finding a more cost effective way of offering your services and producing the products without reducing the quality.

It may also be R&D towards the development of new products which would meet the expectation of your consumers.

This is usually the best time to develop strong product advantage over your competitors.

Cautious Buyers

Consumers in this segment tend to be resilient and optimistic about the long-term but more pessimistic about full economic recovery in the short term. They’re predominantly concerned with how to maintain their standard of living. Like essential-only buyers, they economize buying habits, but less aggressively because most are unscathed by unemployment. The majority of the population is part of this group.


One opportunity most small companies don’t consider is the gap created by strong competitors’ concentration on their big client.

The Managing Consultant of a small management consulting told me that: “I am always busy because I look for small firms that need my service and are ready to pay not much as the big companies.”

“The big firms won’t come to me, as the big consulting firms are also struggling to get them on their client role."

Hence, ensure you incline towards that small business and customers that need your services and products.

Focus your energy and client’s drive on these potential new customers, especially those with growth prospect and strong financial base.


After getting the above steps into operation, then the next you must do is to determine which the most critical support your business cannot do without.

This could mean helping a supplier or distributor whose input is inevitable to your operation. Even by giving the smallest gesture to this critical support line, it would build an enduring loyalty that will pay off for you in years to come.


The last step is to conduct knowledge audit of your organization, one which would have been revealed by step one and two.

Hence, get an employee with the requisite skills in a freelance role, as many companies due lay-off some of these good people.

Reviewing your marketing activities can help you discover better ways to make sales and grow your market share. Focus on communicating a strong unique selling proposition (USP) that helps your business stand out from the crowd.

Marketing can be costly, but even during an economic downturn, every business can access a range of free or low-cost tools which can help build your brand awareness and deliver your message. For example, through content and social media marketing.

Thus, capitalize on this opportunity to identify and attract talented employees to their team.

Taking these deliberated steps during this recession would clear your doubt about the ability of companies to grow during the worst economic situation.
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