Our Comprehensive Guide to How Your Business Can Plan for a Coming Economic Downturn

The global economic forecast for 2023 talks about slowed growth at best and a recession at worst. Even with 2.6% growth in the U.S. GDP for Q3 2022, economists still believe slower growth is on the way, even as the stock market continues to fluctuate between big weekly losses followed by huge gains.

The Journal of Accountancy reported in early June 2022 that most finance leaders in the United States see a recession risk in 2023. 

How is your business preparing? Have you already scaled back plans? Are you freezing hiring? Have you shored up your supply chain? How are you saving on costs?

Take a look at some tips for business planning for an economic downturn or a possible recession predicted for 2023.

Related Post: How Your Business Can Perform a Cash Flow Analysis

1. Analyze Your Cash Flow More Often

Normally, you would look at your cash flow weekly or monthly. When an economic downturn is forecast, consider examining your cash flow daily. Your accounting and financial software can help with this by setting up daily reports sent to your inbox. Some of the strongest analytical tools can predict your cash flow a month in advance. 

If you already know of some seasonal fluctuations or economic indicators that may indicate a slowdown, you can anticipate a cash flow quarterly, semi-annually, and a year ahead.

2. Diversify Your Supply Chain With Procurement Software

If you’re a procurement-heavy company, think about merging your procurement and supply chain platform with accounting and finance. There are plenty of platforms that will gather data from all aspects of your operations to give you a big picture of finances as they relate to procurement.

Then, your procurement team can better manage your supply chain. These experts can identify possible waste, suppliers who have raised prices, and find more diversified vendors to save you money. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with current suppliers. If they can’t budge to fit your needs, your procurement team can look for other opportunities.

Yes, the investment in the right procurement platform now can cost more money up front. However, the longer you use it, the more you can identify savings with a more efficient and diversified supply chain. The right procurement platform might also save money on labor costs in that department.

3. Examine Your Costs

Inflation is at a 40-year high, and it’s probably not going back down (because prices rarely go down). Where can you cut your expenses without cutting your main business operations? Can you use automation to reduce labor costs? Will you freeze hiring? What about raising costs? 

Remember, you can realize tax benefits by investing in automation tools and equipment as well as by hiring people for your team. Striking a balance between tax incentives and spending can help you save money on taxes, and you can decide how to use the savings.

4. Strengthen Your Recurring Revenue for Stable Profits

Recurring revenue gives your company a strong base to grow. During economic slowdowns, stabilizing your recurring revenue becomes a lifeline that can save your business. Protect your most robust revenue channels as much as possible. Identify what segments of your revenue generate the most profits. Then optimize your business model through pricing structures, product improvements or cuts, and services to clients to cut back on products or services that fail to generate solid profits for your company.

5. Understand Your Receivables

During an economic downturn, your customers may pay more slowly. That could lead to less cash flow for your business. Evaluate your clients and customers now to see what their payment habits are like. When possible, shorten pay cycles and negotiate contracts. 

For example, instead of having larger payments every 90 days from reliable customers, think about smaller amounts every 30 days. Rather than getting a $10,000 payment once a quarter from a high-paying customer, why not convert it to $3,100 a month? Your customer will not only appreciate the discount, but you’ll receive monthly payments rather than quarterly. 

6. Manage Your Profits Wisely

Normally, you would reinvest some profits or share profits with investors. Economic downturns signal a time to save rather than spend as much as you usually would. Rather than pay out more to shareholders or invest in tools, think about saving more money when cash flow becomes tighter.

7. Get Creative With Debt Financing

There are way more opportunities for debt financing beyond traditional business loans. Step one when examining your debts is to figure out if you can pay off some debt soon to reduce your monthly expenses. Step two would be to reach out to your current lenders to negotiate more favorable terms. Just like your business, lenders would rather have smaller payments than none at all.

There are other forms of debt financing available, such as angel investors, going public with an IPO, purchase order financing, bridge financing, invoice financing, and microloans. 

8. Strengthen Your Existing Employees

It’s easier (and cheaper) to retain current employees versus hiring new ones. Upskilling your current employees represents a relevant way to diversify who you already have to make them more well-rounded. They can also step in to fill voids left by departing employees.

For instance, it might be less expensive to offer a raise for high performers compared to retaining a particular specialist with a singular skill set. Plus, diversifying your employees’ skills makes them more valuable to your team in the long run by reducing the need to hire someone new until you absolutely have to.

Related Post: How to Prepare Your Small Business for a Predicted Recession

9. Seek Advice From Financial Professionals

An accountant might seem superfluous during a recession, but having an accountant or business planning professional can help you plan for the future and even save your business even as the economy shifts to slower levels.

Contact us or call (417) 881-0145 to request a consultation with our team. We can advise you on the best way forward.


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