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Five ways to recession-proof your business

Following turbulent months of trading and whisperings of a double-dip recession, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Armageddon was just around the corner. But while some run around spending all their money on clean underwear; others don't panic. Instead, they do what entrepreneurs do best; they see a problem and come up with a solution. 

Here are five such solutions that business leaders used to beat the recession.

Maximise your existing resources

Why hire more staff when you already have the people you need to succeed? "There is nothing quite like a recession to get you to focus on what is really essential," says Mark Stephens, Director at F10.

The recession forced Mark to take stock of what F10's core strengths were, what makes the most money, and who was making it. By then focusing on inspiring his staff, F10 has gone on to increase its revenue by 20% year-on-year throughout the downturn.

Embrace change

Change isn't just a buzzword or a political slogan, but a driving force in the universe. Stefan Boyle, MD of PrintRepublic, realised that by resting on his laurels, his business was stagnating. "I made one really dramatic change, I fired myself from my own business!" By removing himself from the day-to-day running of his company, Stefan could take a step back and analyse what needed changing.

He identified the need for a greater focus on his company's marketing strategy. The result? In less than a year, Stefan had attracted over 700 new clients, and increased turnover by 40%.

Strategise

A recession allows you to really analyse where your business is going, and how it's going to get there. Changes you are forced to make in a recession will help you survive, but having an adaptable plan for the future will ensure that those changes see you thrive. Chris Lundie, MD of security business Covert Group, took the recession as an opportunity to increase extra value to the services he currently provides, as well as a chance to integrate cleaning services with his security. By 2011, 65% of his clients were buying both services.

Master your time

While the minutes fall off your clock, pounds could be falling out of your bank account. "Long term success is simply the achievement of a long series of smaller successes," says Andy Gooday, founder of marketing group MarcatusHQ.

He has built his business around efficient time management, and advocates taking time on a regular basis to assess short-, mid-, and long-term goals, as well as outsourcing and integrating new technology.

I, Branded

There's a common misconception in a recession; ditch marketing to save money. Wrong. If there's any time to get you and yourself out there, it's when everyone else is running scared. Capitalise on lower marketing rates and fewer marketing campaigns by making a splash for your company. But don't just stop with your company. Market yourself. Pitch, publish, productise, build your profile, and build partnerships.

Dan Priestly, MD of Triumphant Events, attributes his success to marketing himself. "If you put more focus into building your reputation, enhancing your brand, and making a name for yourself in your industry, you will discover a whole new world of opportunity waiting for you."

About the author

Gregg Bayes-Brown is the Assistant Editor on science, technology and business website, Ask the Experts. Ask the Experts recently released Lessons Learned from the Recession, a book that compiles recession breaking advice from the five contributors mentioned above, as well as 55 other business leaders from around the world.

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