The only certainty is uncertainty. The best way through troubled times is to stay focused on the basics: core products and services and keeping operations as lean as possible. Getting these basics right will help to see you through the difficult times that are ahead.

Core business

To hold your market share in a difficult economic climate, concentrating on what you do best helps you maintain a focus on serving the customers you already have, while hopefully attracting some new ones along the way. So make sure you are clear about what your main product or service is, how it is aligned to the present market and what your unique selling point is.

In uncertain times, trying to expand your market share with new products or service lines is fraught with risk. Playing to your strengths and concentrating on core business, however, will ensure that your business is in a strong position to weather any storm.

Operate a tight ship

Keep your operations lean by cutting back on any unnecessary costs and improving efficiencies wherever possible. This requires you to have a handle on all your business expenses, both large and small. Do you have comprehensive knowledge of how you spend all your money? How thoroughly do you manage budgets within your business? Without that detailed level of understanding of your spending, you will find it difficult to identify any savings opportunities.

Furthermore, it’s worthwhile investing the time and effort in examining your operational model to determine whether there are any efficiencies to be made as well as potential savings. You could start by looking at the following areas:

  • Renegotiating vendor contracts
  • Putting out to tender any major expenses
  • Reducing overheads and re-evaluating equipment and supply needs
  • Downsizing office accommodation or renegotiating leases
  • Reassessing staff needs including any redundancies or possibilities for shared services
  • Outsourcing some functions such as payroll
  • Improving cash flow management.

The insights you will gain from this process of self-evaluation may help you to identify processes that could be automated or streamlined. It will also enable you to stay competitive by adjusting the price as needed.

Economic uncertainty is not all bad as it does present opportunities for businesses to re-evaluate what’s important. Getting back to the basics of core business and cost-effectiveness, with the process of self-reflection that it involves, will help to ensure that your business not only survives the hard times but also thrives in the good times.