Recessions. Let’s talk about ‘em.

By Stephanie Powell

By definition, recessions are characterized by significant declines in economic activity, typically starting with two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth and lasting several months or even years. More specifically, “…when a nation’s economy experiences negative gross domestic product (GDP) rising levels of unemployment, falling retail sales, and contracting measures of income and manufacturing for an extended period of time” (Forbes). And here’s the really fun part: recessions are unavoidable. They are a natural and inevitable piece of the business cycle. Translation: if you haven’t gone through one yet, you’re about to. 

Food for thought: what if all of our talk about the “impending” recession has been what’s speaking it into existence? Is it possible we essentially manifested this reality for ourselves? Sure, recessions are inevitable. They will happen. But if we hadn’t been so hell bent on the surety that it’s going to happen right freaking now, would we still be heading in that direction?

Listen, if we can manifest a full on recession, let there be no doubt that you can manifest the crap out of a successful business. 

Back to the matter at hand. The effects of a recession differ among businesses, but ultimately, we all experience the painful contractions that come with the birth of a new period of economic downturn. Whether it’s cash flow, layoffs, spending cuts, bankruptcies, etc, you can run, but you can’t hide. And many of our businesses are already experiencing these pains in anticipation of what’s coming. 

Don’t worry, we didn’t write this as a way of introducing you to a new doom and gloom persona. That’s not really our schtick. But we are going to keep it real and level with you. Always. And we think we have a way to help. We’ve got some new workshops we’re building that focus on self-branding, entrepreneurship, and how to stay afloat in tough times.

Acknowledging hindsight is 20/20, one of the best things a business can do in a recession is to be as financially prepared and “recession-proof” as possible. Here’s the thing: “…recessions are a high-pressure exercise in change management” (Harvard Business Review). If you haven’t already, start doing your daily stretches because you need to be as flexible and adaptable as possible if you want to successfully navigate the waters of a recession and change. 

While this probably goes without saying, we’re going to say it anyway: maintaining accurate financials and being insanely diligent in planning on how to not run out of money is paramount. Recessions mean less cash flow coming in but not less cash flow going out, so you need a strategy (hint: layoffs are not the only way to cut costs, and they could hurt you in the long run).  

We know one of the first things to go in response to a recession is the marketing budget. This is not the way, friends. Your branding and marketing are invaluable, particularly in a recession. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the companies that report sustainability and even growth during a recession are the ones that launch campaigns or come up with new offers. #facts 

If you’re a silver linings, glass half-full kinda person, there are some positives to be gleaned from a recession. Inflation rates are typically lower and loan repayments decrease as the borrowing rates stay on the lower side of things as well. So yay for that.
But recessions also bear the gift of reinvention as business owners look for innovative ways to maintain or increase revenue while also cutting costs. Now, this gift might be willingly sought after or you might be volun-told to take it via a layoff or hiring freeze. Either way, as long as you choose to see it, there’s an opportunity there. A gift. Albeit a perhaps poorly wrapped gift in tacky paper. 

We know there will be a surge of individuals forging new paths on their own, starting businesses, and individuals/organizations that find new ways to operate and serve their audiences. And we’re here for all of it. 

Those new workshops previously mentioned? They’re about starting not just a new chapter, but a whole new book. If that’s got your interest, we would love for you to apply. And not just for workshops, but to partner with us here at Brass Tacks as well. We aren’t just a creative agency, we’re one that embraces the inevitability of change and welcomes opportunities to evolve. This is far from our first rodeo, and we know your “why” can’t wait a second longer. So saddle up, partner, and let’s do the damn thing.

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