Why do I keep seeing posts and articles scaring people into being nervous about the state of the economy? Just because the stock market is over reacting right now, doesn’t mean you have to worry about your business. Unless it’s publicly traded, then maybe worry for about a second then pull it together. It frustrates me to see vague headlines from so-called experts and political pundits announcing that a recession is on the way... at some point. I’m calling you out MSNBC! Because of course it will, that’s how business cycles literally work.
Our market, like almost every market in the world, is built on the premise that economies expand and contract over time, it’s literally macroeconomics 101. It kind of grinds my gears that the media is giving business owners an excuse for poor performance in the event their revenues, or impact, or engagement fall short of the goals they set for themselves. You might not be able to control whether someone buys from you or not, but you can control the actions you take in your pursuit of growth.
So to combat all the recession talk and pessimism this post is all about why it’s a great environment for small businesses and why doubling down on your efforts is a very worthwhile investment.
First off, you have to let go of waiting for the perfect time to take action. There will be never be the best time. So get over that right out of the gate. It sounds cliche but it’s true, don’t worry about perfect when it comes to doing things in your business. I’d much rather take an imperfect cold sales email that you sent to hundreds of businesses then wasting months trying to perfect an email and have never sent it. One of those things has a better chance at creating value for you and your customers, can you guess which? Think about the time and investment it takes to take something from good to perfect. Is the time investment worth the additional and very marginal gain? Probably not. So get good and then get out there! You can adjust and improve on the fly and it’s part of the learning process.
1. Small businesses are overly concerned with consumer demand.
The consumer demand I’m talking about here is what owners and entrepreneurs talk about when they all congregate - on a macro level. It’s the fuel for excuses around why no one is buying there stuff. They say things like, “Oh I heard consumer demand/confidence was down and that’s why I people aren’t going out to eat as much this time of year.” That’s a lazy, nonsense excuse. What small businesses, you, should be concerned about is your target demographics and what you’re doing to make sure your providing the best possible experience for people. What is your community doing? What are your local customers doing? Are you doing the best you can to get in front of your best customers? Don’t let all the noise of national economic concerns keep you from reaching out.
2. Money is still cheap!
If you have relatively good credit funding is getting easier and easier to get your hands on. That is a beautiful thing! Banks are willing to lend and borrowing rates are still low. So even if your business is a little slow it might be a good time to invest in you and upgrade your brand. You don’t want to start from behind on the permission-to-spend bandwagon when the media announces that everything’s going to be ok and that the stock market isn’t going to just disappear. So it’s a great time to get some extra working capital and add to that plant, equipment, capital, and especially marketing and branding. Your spending should be in service of the experience and value you create, not just because you want new things.
3. People have needs and problems regardless of the economy.
If you have a business that is filling a real need then regardless of what’s happening in the financial markets you need to keep moving. Odds are if you see a problem that needs solving so will other businesses that may have a little extra liquidity and the willingness to try capture a little extra market share. As long as your value proposition, your story, and your message, reaches people and you are passionate about the problem you are solving - it makes you a strong contender.
4. Spending still happens.
In tougher/weaker economies consumers might pull back on larger more extravagant purchases but spending still happens. Consumers will spend on the “little luxuries” that help keep them happy on the day to day. Make your product/service a part of that culture - become part of your consumers day. Think soaps, food, and even clothes. Consumers might skip the tropical cruise vacation but they won’t skimp on making sure the time they take for themselves to enjoy a shower is the best it possibly can be. Nor will they stop trying to find ways to make their lives easier. Regardless of what’s happening in the economy people will always pay for two things - to not be uncomfortable and convenience. Why? Because what they’re really buying is time and that’s always valuable. No one wants to not enjoy the time they get to spend not working on their own grind and convenience effectively buys more time.
Don’t let broad based economic indicators slow you down. In order for you to get your idea going you need to take action. So realistically evaluate your situation, your needs, your plan, and your customers and start creating. Focus on bringing that minimum viable experience to market and building from there. You might surprise yourself and everyone else at the entrepreneurial watercooler because you provided people with something they wanted in spite of the economy and what the news says.