Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Being a boss is hard, and it can elicit overwhelm and stress daily. This overwhelm is exacerbated when economic instability is looming. If you are an entrepreneur (in good times), you understand the map to success is stitched together with rejection, innovation and inspiration. My tenure as a business consultant and coach has given me an eagle-eye view of the fumbles and missteps of emerging talent. Let’s peek behind the curtain, which offers a glimpse into entrepreneurs’ biggest enemies.
The enemies of entrepreneurship are aligning energies with promises of instant gratification, the inability to build relationships, and a hyper-focus on the bottom line. The words “easy” and “instant” are nowhere in the definition of entrepreneurship. Most importantly, in times of flux, the foundation of business building is consistency.
I see entrepreneurs who are brainwashed by the glorious algorithms of social media. Many entrepreneurs believe that TikTok and Instagram are their paths to riches and fame. I have walked with brilliant small business owners who focus on the bottom line and fail to understand the power of relationships. And I have been privy to the wave of overwhelm when business owners are faced with rejection. The energy that we align ourselves with is a make-or-break deal. And when we attempt to elevate our business to the next level alone, we are often banished to an island of stagnancy.
Related: How to Recession-Proof Your Business
Flexibility is the key to being recession-proof
Experiencing fluctuations as a business is a norm. Adaptability is the cornerstone of an agile company that can withstand blips on the radar and experience steady growth. With the recession looming and the stock market volatility on the tips of everyone’s tongues, it is time to think outside the box and become recession-proof.
When challenges are lobbed at us, it is often an innate response to turn inward, spend less money, and recoil from opportunity. Many entrepreneurs hunker down and wait for the juicy markets of yesteryear. I learned the lesson of reacting to spikes in global instability the hard way. When the pandemic ebbed its way into global consciousness, my immediate response was to go into overdrive. I amped up marketing strategies with phronetic energy. I did this because I connected with the news media’s deafening cadence, which proclaimed imminent economic doom. I attached my energy to the panic — and went into overdrive. This frantic attempt at trying to stay relevant led to burnout.
When I took a step back to analyze my value proposition during an economic downturn, I recognized that my services could align in a new way with the new needs of potential clients. It is imperative to understand the needs of potential clients, no matter the economic or social climate. For example, if you are a coach or consultant, you must have your finger on the pulse of what your people need from you now.
Staying stagnant in your brand messaging is perhaps the worst path for any entrepreneur. Being relevant, flexible and understanding your value in times of calamity can be your biggest strength. To become recession-proof, you must audit the fluctuations of your clients’ most significant needs. A savvy entrepreneur will adjust and fulfill their client’s new needs.
Asking for help is a strength
One of my most successful clients, who has withstood the fluctuations of an ever-changing market, recognized that she must be proactive in her success. Mika Altidor, the founder of the acclaimed vegan bakery, V&M Bakery, knew instinctively that the pandemic could be the downfall of her restaurant business. With a fail rate of 80%, many restaurants folded under pandemic pressure. Altidor knew she could not transition this wave by herself. The pandemic forced a significant shift in the restauranteur paradigm, and Altidor reached out to a coach and the expertise of mentors on Score.Org.
Altidor firmly grasped the guidance and mentorship of her team and recalibrated her approach to serving delicious food to the masses. She wrote a cookbook, teamed up with local restaurants, and commanded a collective powerhouse in her local area.
Related: 6 Proven Business Marketing Strategies to Grow During a Recession
Join a community
To be a recession-proof business, you must lock arms with individuals navigating the same space. Joining a networking community or mastermind group that is adequately moderated can groom your business’ growth. Professional communities are incubators for innovation, fresh ideas and new connections. There is an abundance of communities on LinkedIn that offer advice and networking that can change the trajectory of your business.
Often entrepreneurs are offered the illusion that working harder will increase their returns. Yet, the truth is that working smarter and surrounding yourself with people who have traversed your journey successfully is the most ingenious way to elevate your business plan.
Take a glance at your original business plan and make modifications. Modifying your original game plan is the only way to survive the turbulence.
Related: 9 Smart Ways to Recession-Proof Your Business (Fast)
Stop chasing shiny objects
To be a victor in the recession, you must stop chasing shiny objects. Shiny object syndrome is defined as the insatiable desire to follow the newest trends in the hopes of attracting undue attention. Chasing fads and trends is only a temporary band-aid on entrepreneurs’ wounds. All businesses’ tried and true foundations are built on creating sustainable relationships that stand the test of time.