Recession proof your business by listening to the changing goals of your customers. They reveal early inflection points to change direction. Double down on customer experience practices that work.
I know, I know. Enough already.
After what we’ve had to surf the last few years, yet another thing. Now we are dealing with rising costs, increased interest rates, falling stock markets and fears of recession.
The year started with stock market predictions encouraging investments in equities rather than bonds. The relatively quick change in that picture surprised a lot of people. I admit, it surprised me.
Yet, there’s been a lot of noise and volatility the last three months. What Rita McGrath would call early inflection points. It didn’t seem real to a lot of people until a bear market was declared at the beginning of last week.
Then there was a huge one-day drop.
That’s what listening for early inflection points is all about. Not being surprised. Maybe I should have listened better.
Here we are, now what?
To be honest, I’ve been focused on my business. As I should be.
I have a regular review meeting set up this week with my financial planner. We set it at the end of the last one. I reached out to him last week after the bad day, wondering if we should move it up. Kicking myself for not having done that in April or March.
His initial response was realistic. To paraphrase… He said let’s keep the original time. The fall had happened. Things were not likely to fall further in the short time. He made some suggestions of what we will talk about to rebalance my risks. (He was right. In fact, things inched back up a little since the big one-day fall.)
It’s just now going to be a bigger meeting.
I know I’m privileged to need and have a financial planner. It’s one of those good problems to have. Still, it feels like yet another set back in an era of setbacks.
It got me thinking about how to recession proof your business
It got me thinking. Remaining focused on the business includes listening to the early inflection points for a potential recession. You need to consider now how you could recession proof your business.
Which for me is all about how a potential recession may impact my customers. How can I help them recession proof their businesses? To listen to them.
Some people cut back on marketing or customer services during downturns – because they think they aren’t directly revenue generating. The smart companies double down on the parts of those that work. Because gaining and keeping customers is what keeps your company afloat.
Yes, consider changes to your business. But that doesn’t always equate that to a pivot in your products.
It might be changes to your messaging – to match the new realities and the concerns of your customers. It’s also considering your operations and costs. Maybe consider changing payment structures. Yours as well as theirs.
Listen to your customers
It’s also take a look at customer experience.
Now is the time to double down on listening to customers. To get a pulse on the changes they are going through. Possibly even consider additional ways to gather feedback.
Continue with the goal of making customer experience about helping customer’s achieve their goals, easily and quickly. The point is their goals have likely changed. You only know their changing needs by listening to customers. Reset expectations for success. Yours as well as theirs.
Know that this might take time and energy. In a downturn, things can take longer to get results. Consider it an investment.
It is about continuing aligning the business to what is happening to customers.
Don’t wait to be surprised
If a recession does happen – and yes, it is still uncertain – it will come the same way the bear market came upon us. A pronouncement by financial folks that a lagging indicator means we are in a recession. (A recession is declared after two quarters of reduced growth.)
That’s how financial metrics work. They look at things in the rear-view mirror.
I recommend you look forward instead.
Look to your customers. They are the early indicators that can provide you direction. Don’t wait to be surprised.