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The Recession Surthrival Guide

How Your Business Can Thrive During Any Recession

There’s no doubt that recessions affect all businesses.

Yet, looking at the big picture can help any legitimate business rise above economic crises.

This guide will help you determine what steps your company can take to stay ahead when the market is tough.


Step 1

Hedgehog Up: Give Your Business a Stronger Backbone

The Economy Is Down. Now What?


Your business should be adjusting alongside any economic situation rather than succumbing to it. This might mean making adjustments to your business practices a couple of times a year, but, in the long run, it will keep your business competitive.


Businesses that get caught up in what they believe “works” versus listening to the needs of their customers risk losing those customers over time. Meanwhile, businesses that take advantage of new approaches based on customer needs have a much better likelihood of retaining and growing their customer base.


Change is never easy, but doing it alongside your customers can make a transition more seamless for both sides.


Captain Bob Figular from Mariners Learning System has been a business owner for over 30 years. He has experienced his share of recessions and has gotten through each of them by finding ways to control his business’ future.



According to Captain Figular, it’s important to avoid fear-based decision-making during a recession. In the long run, this doesn’t work out for your business. Instead, focus on what you can change and adjust during difficult times. This is more important than trying to manage areas that are out of your control.


Assess What You Are Already Doing Well


The term “Hedgehog Up” means you are giving your business a stronger backbone to survive any kind of threat or crisis. In general terms, you can do this by looking at what your business is currently doing and assessing what practices are working extremely well for you.


As Captain Figular mentions, a business facing a crisis that stops and assesses rather than reacting impulsively is more likely to thrive beyond the current climate. This practice shows that you have your finger on the pulse of your business and know what you excel at.


While making changes to your business during a downturn is an important step, you must first look at what your customers and employees appreciate most about your company. Then, you should continue to provide the types and levels of service that you do well and can control. For example, if your business is known for prompt responses and quick turnaround times, this aspect should be amplified as an area of focus.


Use Technology To Your Advantage


Another way to ensure your business continues to be a steady presence is to keep your technological systems up-to-date and working without issue. Streamlining technology helps your business reduce overhead costs and continue to provide services at the same level.

In an economic recession as bad as COVID-19, we were said to have plummeted into a “New World.”   Updating your software is one main way strong businesses adapted to the new world.

Software is at the heart and soul of most businesses today. The best practice is to make sure that your solution is the most forward-thinking option for your company.


If your software isn’t performing at its best for your company and simplifying your employees’ jobs, then it’s going to hinder your ability to stay ahead when a recession hits.


It’s very important that your software is the best solution for your company’s services and practices. This allows you to provide excellent turnaround times when it comes to your customer communications and services. When budgets are tight, customers will assess that turnaround time to decide what they can logically afford. Ideally, they will choose to stay with your business.


One problem most businesses face relates to advancements in business technology. Many business owners think that they need all of the latest technologies in order to stay competitive.


JP Lessard’s recommendation is to choose the most competitive technology for the audience you serve.


There can be instances where there is too much technology, and you don’t want to fall into that trap. Technology should always work with you – not against you.


Ultimately, you want to be sure that your technology and software help your business operate efficiently at all times, especially during a recession.

Step 2

Adapt (and Thrive)

Change With The Times


If you approach a recession by only completing the first step in this process, then you aren’t going to thrive. You will simply be surviving, which is what you want to avoid.


Make sure your business stays ahead of your competition during a recession and beyond by looking forward from your current best practices. You need to adapt to ensure that your company continues to grow.


As mentioned, it is important that you take an offensive approach to your business instead of a defensive one. This allows you to continue expanding your business and customer base during hard times instead of tightening your hatches.


Recessions are the perfect time for you to assess what your customers need and determine how your business can change to meet those needs. These adjustments can be big or small, depending on what makes sense for your business and your customer base.


Adjusting your current practices can help keep your overhead down while expanding your customer focus and reach.


According to JP Lessard, keeping your finger on the pulse of new changes in your industry is unquestionably going to pay off over time.


Knowing and understanding your pain points and areas for improvement can be helpful to ensure a smooth transition to any new company-wide changes. Recognizing what needs to be done differently and taking proactive steps toward change is essential, even if the economy isn’t on your side. Both customers and employees will benefit from your willingness to adapt to changing times.


In fact, making changes when the economy is in a recession is actually the best time for your company overall. These pain points will be much more obvious to you as a business owner during the harder months, which makes it easier to identify changes to implement.


Modify Your Current Resources


During a recession, many companies want to focus their efforts on staying in business, not expanding their reach. As a result, they tend to implement sales, marketing, and hiring freezes or downsizes.


While this may work, it’s not necessarily the best practice for your company overall. It’s important to demonstrate that you believe in your business and your employees, especially when that trust falters due to the economic downturn.


For example, if your business has a company-wide hiring freeze, you might consider moving your recruiting team to other roles instead of letting them go. Their talent and skills can still be used in other ways to contribute to the company’s growth, even if their specific role is different.


Comparatively, if you provide a service that customers don’t necessarily need in the same way during the lean years, consider the types of services they do need. Showing your customers that you believe in them and have their back – more on that later – will go a long way toward adapting your business and thriving in the future.


Don’t Limit Your Opportunities


The idea that technology can help you advance your company in the current climate – or future climates – allows you to continuously expand your customer base. When the economy falters, you can use technology to advance your business beyond its current limits.


Over the past two years, many companies have taken advantage of creating business relationships with customers all over the country and even the world. This has all been made possible by the ever-expanding virtual world of business.


Today, running a business no longer requires that you work physically next to the customers you serve. With expanding technology, the world has become more accessible to everyone – especially when it comes to business ventures and relationships.



“The main thing you want to look at is how can you streamline your interactions with your partners and do it using technology. There are ways you may have in place already and there are ways you may want to look at to implement.” – JP Lessard



One of the key ways that companies can expand their customer relationships in today’s world is by ensuring their software works with the customer in mind. This means making sure that your services continue to allow customers to automate and improve their own processes.



As you expand your company’s reach, these advancements in software can be extremely helpful for all customers. Problems don’t always stick to a “normal business hours” kind of schedule therefore your business needs to have accessibility for those off hours.


Integrating your website or web portal with all of your behind-the-scenes systems will go a long way toward maintaining customer relationships. With connected systems, you can continue to improve your efficiency, bottom line, and overall quality of life for your company and employees.


If you already have this integration in place, it will help your business when you experience a recession.

Step 3

Focus On Your Customers

Without Your Customers, There Is No Business


Any time the economy slows down, your customers are impacted in major ways. Often, they are looking to be reassured by the familiar. They want to know that even when times are tough, you will be there for them.


To ensure your customers are reassured you can proactively tell them where you stand. Increase customer confidence by demonstrating that you recognize the situation and are committed to helping them in any way you can.


Communication is the key to any successful business, even more so when a recession hits.


At Miles IT, we live by the belief that successful communications equal successful outcomes for all.


We keep this belief top-of-mind during all customer interactions, and so can you. By communicating to your customer proactively when changes occur, you can reassure them that your business isn’t going away even if times are changing.


Clear communication will lead to customer confidence, which will in turn help your business thrive beyond the recession. For example, one of our customers – Westchester Family Care – displays a banner at the top of their website with important business information they want all who visit the site to know.


This allows your customers to know that you have their back and will grow and change alongside them. If you continue to show that you care, you will likely increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.


How Can You Reassure Your Customers?


There are many ways that you can work with your customers to ensure they know your business is still functioning even if the economy is suffering.


One strategy is to provide your customers with new business information the moment it changes. Through solid communication, they will know that you are considering their needs as well as your business’s needs.


Most importantly, you can show your customers that you have their back. You can accomplish this with business adaptations as mentioned above or by providing the same level of service, no matter the crisis at hand.


It’s extremely important that your customers know the changing economic tide won’t leave them high and dry with regard to your provided products or services.



“You can choose to weather the storm or to sell umbrellas.” – John Horner



This statement can refer to your company as a whole, but also to how you reassure your customers to stay with you in the weeds as you work your way toward the pasture.


It means that as a company, you can choose one of two paths.
One solution is to make small immediate changes for current issues – putting a Band-Aid on the problem.


The second option – usually the better choice – is to make bigger changes that evolve your business scope to better fit the needs of your customers.


With the “selling umbrellas” mentality, you can show your customers that you can address their changing needs – no matter the current state of the economy. If they can no longer afford your full services, offer them a more cost-effective alternative until the situation improves.


Increasing your advertising during a recession is helpful because other companies might be facing uncertainties. For example, your competitors may feel they shouldn’t spend money on Google Ads when the economy is declining. With less competition, you could find that your ad costs are reduced and your business is getting more visibility.


When the economy changes, it’s always valuable to identify your core market and discover how you can change your delivery of service to meet current trends. One example of this is the use of telehealth technology during the height of the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020. After making the change because of necessity, some service providers found that it actually benefited them more in the long run.


When it comes to new choices of service or delivery of service, customers are always going to stay with the company they trust instead of switching to a new provider. Moving and adjusting with your customers is an important step to making sure that your business thrives during difficult times

Step 4

Invest In Your Business

Focus On Yourself


In recent years, business owners have tried to find the most cost-effective ways to keep their businesses running in a vastly changing landscape. One solution is to invest in your own company and its people.


During a recession, companies often think the best approach is to invest in the stock market instead of in their own business.


Yet, it’s important to consider the risks of those actions. Investing in the stock market, with its fluctuations and changes, is not something you can control. On the other hand, investing in the growth and maintenance of your business is something you have full power over.


Our CEO, Chris Miles, discusses his experience during the 2008 economic crisis. He noticed that many companies invested their money in stocks, but failed to expand their business beyond the crisis. He recommends focusing on your own business because you can control how that investment is handled and how it grows.



“I believe that we should advertise, market, grab more business right now so that we can make up for the revenue decline. Then, when it comes back, we will be that much better.” – Chris Miles



If you consider areas like marketing and advertising as investments into your business instead of expenses, you are preparing yourself to have even bigger returns once the market bounces back. Expanding on these aspects of your business during hard times will ensure that you make up for lost revenue and potentially double revenue almost immediately when the economy returns to “normal.”


Chris Miles, as stated in the video above, understands that the market is scary to think about during a recession. However, a downturn is potentially the most opportune time to invest in your business; it may end up costing less since the competition level is also reduced.


Not only are these investments beneficial for your bottom line, but they are also beneficial for your employees. By expanding your work and reach during tough times, you can keep your teams employed and thriving.


Ultimately, investing in yourself gives you the means to bounce back even better than your competitors who scaled back to “weather the storm.”


You can also stay focused on your business during a recession by deciding to tackle new projects. There are many processes your company can change during difficult times that will help grow your business more in the long run.


You can discover many opportunities to create changes within your business, but your overall focus should be on processes that affect payment, productivity, marketing, delivery of services, and customer loyalty. Focusing your changes within these areas of your business is going to ensure you have the growth you need during a recession as well as beyond it.


John Horner further explains this by outlining ways your company can prioritize IT Projects to keep the business thriving.



It may seem like a lot to manage, but, these adjustments can be relatively minor and still have a major impact. You just need to consider the bigger picture when it comes to making changes.


Investing In Your Employees Betters Your Business


Beyond the bottom dollar, businesses can invest in themselves by believing in their employees first. After all, the business can’t succeed if there is no one there to help run it.


One of the ways we do this at Miles IT is by listening to our employees and assessing what we can do to help them perform at their best. Whether that is expanding technology assets to make their jobs easier or allowing them to work remotely, we always put their needs first.


Of course, working remotely isn’t a possibility for all jobs (and there are challenges with remote work). Yet, there are other ways you can invest in your employees whether they work in-person or from home.  Just be sure to follow these tips to help them adjust to working from home if that’s an option for you.


First and foremost, invest in your company’s software and technology. This step can ensure that your employees have the best resources possible and can be the most productive.


This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to buy any new equipment or software. You can also invest in upgrades to make sure that all equipment performs at the highest level and maintains comprehensive security.


Even if your employees can’t work remotely, they might be interacting with your customers in a virtual setting. Investing time and resources into your equipment can better enhance your employees’ jobs and also your customers’ experience.

What Comes Next?

Making the choice to alter your business practices with the changing tide isn’t an easy decision, but a necessary one. As long as you keep your focus on what your customers need, your business can survive and even thrive during a recession.


At Miles IT, we can help you leverage technology so you can thrive and come out better than ever on the other side!