10 top tips to survive recession
With trading conditions still difficult, businesses must keeping asking themselves if they’re getting all the fundamentals right. Mike Jenkins identifies the top-10 survival checks.
A return to recession could be just around the corner, according to a survey recently conducted by the Construction Products Association, which found confidence in the construction industry weakening because of concerns over public-spending cutbacks. The house-building sector also faces a fresh slump, according to the latest survey by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, with confidence at its lowest level since July 2009.
In this continuing climate of uncertainty, there are many basic things business owners can be doing to increase their chances of survival and to ensure that, whenever the recession finally ends, they are in better shape than ever. For those in the building-services sector, the HVCA has published a series of four ‘Better business guides’, presenting reliable and affordable ways of improving the efficiency and profitability of your business.
Drawing from the first of these guides, here are 10 top tips to beating the recession.
• Count every penny. Now is the time to double-check expenditure, examine old practices and habits and consider streamlining. Are there still costs you can cut without customers noticing?
• Monitor your cash flow. It is vital you get your invoices out on time and that you get paid for the work you have done. Cash-flow problems can sink companies, so get the money in!
• Conduct credit checks. It is prudent in any economic climate to carry out credit checks on all customers and suppliers. In a recession, it is essential.
• Negotiate. Don’t shy away from bartering and never accept the first price, even if you have been working with the same supplier for years. To strengthen your position, always be aware of competitors’ costs and other suppliers’ prices.
• Involve your staff. Your employees have a vested interest in seeing your business succeed, particularly during a recession, so ask for their input and be open-minded. They may come up with surprising and successful ideas.
• Stay close to your bank. Maintain regular contact with your bank manager, keep him fully informed of your circumstances and do exactly what you say you will do.
• Stay visible. Marketing is a vital tool, not an expendable luxury. Previous recessions have proven that companies who keep marketing win market share from their competitors during and after the recession.
• Remember how you’re different. Identify what sets you apart from your competitors and makes you the preferred option for clients. These are your unique selling points and you need to let potential clients know about them.
• Keep your customers happy. It’s easy to take your existing customers for granted, but they’re the reason you’re in business! Be mindful they will also be experiencing the effects of recession, so make them feel special.
• Use HVCA Business Plus. Together with its subsidiary companies, the HVCA offers businesses in the HVACR sector a huge range of advice, assistance and commercial services directly relevant to your business. For more details visit www.hvcabusinessplus.co.uk or freephone 0800 9171541.
Mike Jenkins is business development manager of Welplan and Group Co-ordinator of HVCA Business Plus.