Unless you have living on another planet, you might be aware that many economies around the world are verging on recession. Deglobalisation, wars, and the general decline due to the pandemic have plunged the world into uncertainty. How can you as an entrepreneur survive a downturn?

The recession in 2009, mainly affected the financial sector. The impact of the post COVID downturn has mainly been on travel, events and retail industry. Well-known UK names such as John Lewis, Boots, M&S, British Airways and WH Smith have all restructured to save costs.

Despite measures such as the furlough scheme supporting businesses, how can you as an entrepreneur survive the recession?

We asked John Burness, Founder of Axiom Two and Author of Against The Odds to identify his key learnings from the last recession, and this is what he said:

Cut your costs

Ruthlessly cut your costs; get your spending down as low as you can get it whilst still trading. This will mean sacrifices of all sorts, but it will ensure survival. You can’t choose to be sentimental about anything.

Conserve your cash

Ruthlessly conserve your cash. Cash is King.

Borrowing won’t save you

Do not try to borrow your way out. Even at low-interest rates, debt must be paid back and will just cover up inefficiencies. Get rid of the inefficiencies instead. 

Don’t try and sell your way out

The demand will probably not be there, and you will waste precious time and money in trying to find a buyer.

Look after your existing customers

Work with them if they are in trouble. Make sure that they are delighted by your response to the difficult business climate.

The recession can be an opportunity to increase efficiency and customer service.

Embrace technology

Implementing new technology and systems can help with cutting costs and reducing inefficiencies. Know that you will get through it and that your business will ultimately be better for it

Remember that the only time your company will fail is if you give up

And remember to…

Smile about it. It’s not easy, no one said it was going to be. Your attitude and mindset can save a business from drowning.