Leading economists and financial experts from all over the world have been warning about a potential recession. Some say that it has already begun when we consider soaring prices and record-high inflation.
International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva says the war in Ukraine has increased the risk of a global recession. The head of the IMF has ominously predicted that the remainder of 2022 will be tough, and 2023 will be even tougher.
As entrepreneurs and business leaders, though, we cannot afford to give in to this doomsday scenario. We must learn how to leverage our position to not just survive in the recession, but also thrive. Here are three ways I believe you can embrace the recession and use it to your advantage.
Be your customer’s light.
In these challenging times, just about every single person could use a pick-me-up. What if you could be that for your consumers? As a content creator or creative entrepreneur, ask yourself how you can improve the lives of your consumers. How can you put a smile on their faces? As a business owner, how can you modify or customize your products and services to improve the current lives of your consumers?
There are many ways to provide reassurance to your clients. The comfort you provide to your customers doesn’t always have to directly translate into more revenue. Enhancing your product, providing a sense of comfort and improving lives—all these things will translate into deeper and more personal relationships between you and your audience or consumer. This will, in turn, help your business objectives in the long run.
People always remember who improved their days and lives in rough times. Use hard times to get closer to your consumers and target an audience by providing value.
Leverage the boons of rough periods.
You can either panic and cry woe is me, or you can look for silver linings in these difficult times and leverage them to grow your business.
One obvious silver lining of the recession is that agencies, freelancers and other skilled individuals are available to work—people who might not otherwise have been available in normal times. Moreover, these individuals are often willing to offer lower prices right now due to the markets being down and overall financial outlooks looking gloomy.
This can be a perfect opportunity to bring in fresh talent who have the ideas and drive to work with you and help your business objectives.
On top of that, when everyone else is pulling back, that means you have less competition. You and your business are only as good as your team. So ask yourself how can you expand your team by leveraging more options and absorbing talented workers who are looking to put their skills to good use.
Find innovative offerings that take advantage of the times.
Zepto, a startup in India that has raised over $900 million since its founding in the lockdown of 2020, was started by two 19-year-old college dropouts. In the pandemic lockdown, the two bachelors struggled to find quick and available groceries around them. So, they decided to start a company that specializes in delivering groceries in as little as 10 minutes.
Khabane Lame was a factory worker before he was laid off during the pandemic in March 2020. Finding himself with more time on his hands, he started posting on TikTok. Fast forward to today and Khaby is the most followed person on the platform and a multi-millionaire thanks to lucrative brand sponsorship deals.
Both these examples show how far starting at seemingly bad times can take entrepreneurs and creators. When you start something at a time when everything around you seems to be on a downward spiral, you can make yourself stand out.
Expand when others are contracting. Start when others are stopping. Push when others are pulling back. Taking the calculated risk of embracing the recession and using it to your advantage can pay off big time in the long run, as we see in the case of Khaby, Zepto and many other examples.
Focus on self-reliance.
You cannot run away from the recession. Clients and sponsors cut budgets and break deals at times like these. We know this, so we must accept this and look at alternatives.
As a creator, when you cannot rely on brands anymore, can you start your own brand? As an entrepreneur, when your clients are backing out, can you start a profitable venture that is independent of external parties?
The answer is almost always yes. You can’t circumvent the recession altogether, but you can take steps to limit its impact on you and your business. If we already assume a recession is coming, what steps can we take now to minimize the negative impact on our businesses?
Embrace the recession.
Whether it’s setting up your own agency, building your own brand or making your business self-reliant, there is always something that you can do in order to avoid succumbing to the recession.
In the end, I recommend that you ignore the noise, don’t panic and focus on what’s in your hands as a creative or an entrepreneur. Take the right steps to not just survive but actually thrive in this tough period.
What measures have you taken to deal with the recession?
As featured on Forbes.