How to Handle Downturns in Your Business

Published by Katie H on

How to Handle Downturns

You’ve worked hard to build your business. You’ve planned. You’ve executed. You’ve done everything you can to provide value to the world. 

And then, through no fault of your own, the inevitable…

Life happens. Plans fall through. And, even with sustained efforts, your business stalls.

What Happens When Things Don’t Go As Planned?

In 2020, companies in all industries and of all sizes have been hit with a major curveball. One that has surely put in a wrench in your plans – business and otherwise.

The world is still reeling from the impact, yet as a business owner, you’re expected to move forward & push through.

In times of economic downturn though, that movement can be difficult. The uncertainty of the future makes taking action, putting yourself and your business at risk, all the more frightening.

It’s easy to freeze up. To “let things blow over”. To hold out. Or, worse yet, throw in the towel.

But if you want to survive during any period of downturn in your business (whether economic or seasonal), you need to know how to pivot.

Learn to Pivot During Downturns

Pivot during downturns quote

Learning to pivot is really about identifying when (and how!) to be flexible in your business strategy. As business owners, we typically review & revise strategies once a quarter, or maybe even just once a year.

But downturns force our hands, requiring us to adjust before we mean to. 

This doesn’t have to be a bad thing though. Try to see this as less of a hassle and more of an opportunity. Overall, adjusting your strategy allows you to shift your focus, cutting away what’s not working in order to expand what is.

But then there’s another dilemma…

When the downturn affects more than just your business… When it affects your community, your industry, or the world. 

You can sell but…should you?

The answer is, unequivocally, YES!

It’s important for the economy that we continue to buy & sell from each other. The key here is to understand that you & your business are in the position to help. You can provide guidance, a much-needed solution, or even be a source of entertainment!

Customers & clients need exactly what your business has to offer. Follow the tips below to pivot and/or reposition your business so you can do more than survive during a downturn, you can thrive!

Assess Your Current Strategy and Business Plan

The first step to handling downturns in your business is to do a quick audit. Figure out what is working, what is essential, and what can be paused until later. 

  1. Audit each part of your current strategy.
  2. Define what is working profitably
  3. Decide what is essential

Once you’ve decided on the most essential elements of your business strategy, you can trim the fat. Only then can you begin to think about your pivot plan. 

BONUS: Be proactive with communication here. If you’re working in a team environment, be sure to keep staff engaged & updated on potential next steps.

Reassure Current Clients

Speaking of next steps, you’ll also want to express those to your current clients. Even if you don’t have a complete roadmap setup, the most important thing you can offer your customers during downturns is peace of mind. 

Be sure to let current clients know that you’re willing to work with them when times get hard. This can inspire a sense of loyalty for years to come.
Above all things though, upping your communication is a must. Customers need to know that your business values them enough to keep them in the loop.

Here are a few ways you can do that:

  • Show up in excess and provide more support for current clients – make sure they are getting value from your product or service.
  • Be a guiding light of recommendations to clients and potential clients. Offer extras or freebies to those needing your business.
  • Provide a “pause plan” for existing clients to help relieve financial stress.

Expand Your Prospects

No matter what the circumstances of the world are, there will always be uncertainty around promoting your business and services.

But the goal is not to stop selling, even during a slump. The goal is to learn to sell with integrity, always

Having a proven, automated funnel system in place is one of the best ways for modern business owners to market themselves. Ensure that you’re attracting new clients or customers willing to pay for your products and/or services by setting up an evergreen sales funnel. 

A good sales funnel should include the following:

  • A compelling lead magnet (a free consultation, an ebook, a free webinar or course)
  • Proven tactics that drive traffic to your offer
  • Follow-up strategies to close the sale & boost retention

Once you have a great sales funnel in place, should you or your business be hit with an unexpected downturn, all you have to do is update your offer and shift your messaging to reflect the times.

More compassion. More empathy. More gratitude. That’s the key.

Create Your Pivot Plan

After reviewing your current strategies, it’s time to build your pivot plan. There are several ways to change course from economic downturns that could work for your business for example, you can:

  • Bundle products and/or services into an ebook, course, or other digital product.
  • Explore alternate ways to sell like consulting or coaching.
  • Align your sales & marketing to create a new, revenue-generating funnel offer around your products & services.

It’s not enough to put pen to paper though, you need to take action to create & execute a successful pivot plan. 

We know how stressful fine-tuning the details of a strategy can be, that’s why we’re offering Pivot Planning Sessions. 

Get actionable guidance from the team at Smart Girl Digital with a FREE, 60-minute pivot planning session. And the best part? You’ll also receive a practical road map so you know the exact steps you need to take for your business.

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Categories: Business