It’s not unnatural for a business owner to look at the headlines and worry about tough times ahead. Today we’re taking a look at some of the things you can do to protect your business during periods of high costs and squeezed revenues.

Review Your Rivals

If your competitor strategy was written in more prosperous times, it may be time to revisit it. You’ll need to recheck your competitor businesses to ensure you’ve correctly identified your biggest rivals for market share and revenue, and gone through more market research so you can sharpen your marketing to highlight your unique selling points when compared with them. It’s more important than ever to have something specific to offer so you can stand out in a crowded field.

Limit Your Exposure to Bad Debt

When you’re not worried about money, it’s all too easy to allow more flexibility to clients on when they pay their invoices. When they start to get as stretched for resources as everything else, that flexibility can get pulled to breaking point, and you’ll find yourself a creditor for bad debts.

Before things escalate to that point, it’s time to strengthen your processes. A redesign of your invoices gives you an excuse to communicate a stricter adherence to your terms to clients, and ensure you’re not waiting for payments that may not come if the oncoming recession bites down hard.

Rethink Your Marketing

Your products don’t necessarily need to change during tough financial times – in fact, the cost of thoroughly retooling your inventory and services may be more than you can wisely invest at times like this. It’s cheaper and less risky to retool your marketing.

Use research to find out what your audience’s priorities are in harder financial times and make sure you appeal to them – emphasise the value of your offering. That doesn’t mean cutting prices, and in fact price cuts can damage your brand. It means finding the ways that your business delivers a lot of bang for its buck – be that a good return on investment, ways that it’s more effective and longer lasting than supposedly cheaper rivals, or additional perks like lifetime warranties.

Look for Efficiencies

You shouldn’t avoid looking inward during difficult times. Squeezed revenue can be a good spur to root out inefficient practices in your own business, costly logistics solutions you’ve not reviewed in too long, to bonus schemes from executives and sales teams that don’t motivate the behaviours you need. With some expert help it’s possible to cut costs internally without cutting back on your service to customers – or cutting back on jobs.