Recession Proof | NAWBO

We’ve all been striving to put the pandemic far behind us. However, many of us continue to feel the impacts of such an unprecedented disruption and the economic ups and downs that have followed.

Some experts believe we’re in a recession. Others say not according to the traditional definition of a “significant decline that lasts more than a few months across the economy” because of monthly payroll gains along with other economic data points.

Either way, our experiences over the past few years underscore the need for adaptability as women business owners. There’s never been a better time to focus on creating the kind of resiliency that can survive any future disruption, slowdown or uncertainty.

At NAWBO’s Leadership Academy, our first national in-person event for 2023 taking place February 6-7 in Long Beach, California, we’re talking about opportunities—from financial and marketing to culture and technology—that can put us on the road to resiliency.

I’ll touch on two right now. Cash flow problems are one of the main reasons why a business will struggle to survive. As profit margins shrink, expenses increase and sales become harder to close, it’s imperative to make business decisions based on factual financial data.

Track and manage your KPIs closely—P&L, cash report, budget to expenses, job costing, etc. Look at this information monthly so you can quickly adjust if needed. Additionally, work to diversify your cash flow and know how to access economic relief resources should you need them.

Secondly, keep up your marketing efforts. While it might seem like cutting marketing dollars is one of the easiest line items to address, you could be doing more harm than good. A Harvard Business Review article found companies that did not slash their marketing budgets during a recession strongly bounced back.  

That’s because marketing keeps you top of mind with your customers. It also allows you to control the message you’re sending during more challenging times. Instead of cutting, increase your tracking and monitoring to make sure your dollars are working for you.

In this month’s issue of NAWBO ONE, we also have a piece on lessons learned by business leaders from past recessions. One pearl gleaned is that while consistent, clear communication is always important, it’s even more so during a disruption or downturn. Be as transparent as possible to keep your team motivated and loyal.

Lastly, I want to talk about having an adaptable mindset. Change in life and business constantly happens and it’s impossible to tell the future. Our ability to adapt as women business owners greatly contributes to our success now and in the future.

A Forbes article suggests this: Look for opportunities to continue to learn new things. Pay attention to how different industries are doing things, listen to TED Talks and podcasts on topics that are new to you. Read books, magazines and news articles that challenge your perspective. Also, tap into learning opportunities through NAWBO and the NAWBO Institute. Continuous learning and growth create an adaptive mindset—one that is open to change.

I hope to see you in a few weeks at Leadership Academy to continue this important conversation!


—Karen Bennetts
  2022-2023 NAWBO National Board Chair

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