Thriving and surviving: Five tips for businesses weathering the economic downturn
All I’ve seen is doom and gloom in the media lately about the economic downturn leading to a recession. In some ways, the concerns are justified. The next 12 months will be a challenging time for businesses, both large and small. We’re in a state of extreme global economic uncertainty, and rightfully many entrepreneurs and business owners are fearful of what’s to come and wondering how to navigate the challenges they’re now facing.
But — and here’s the good news — small business owners and leaders have the distinct advantage of being more agile than larger companies, which makes it easier to pivot when challenges arise (and they always do). There will always be new challenges we need to overcome, not just in times of crisis but in everyday life – the market changes, new competitors arrive, key team members leave, a recession hits or a virus prompts an economic retraction like COVID-19. Navigating uncertainty is a core capability every business owner is forced to foster.
In my own journey as an entrepreneur and investor I’ve experienced my fair share of setbacks. I spent the first four years of my business career making zero visible progress. My very first business, a call centre I launched when I was 18 with a $20,000 loan, failed within only a few short months. It was an incredibly discouraging introduction to business, but it was the failures of my first few years that ultimately gave me the lessons I needed to co-found MBE Education, a business which enabled small and medium-sized enterprises to raise money from investors and acquire and exit businesses. It quickly became one of Australia’s fastest-growing companies and gave me the solid financial foundation to start The Entourage.
Of course, the journey up until today though hasn’t been without challenges. But one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt in business is that it’s not the size of the challenge that matters — it’s the size of your resilience. So never waste a crisis, always use it to get better.