How to survive and thrive during a downturn

Lara Morgan discusses all things business when times become tough.

How to survive and thrive during a downturn

Lara Morgan discusses all things business when times become tough. 

I will start my October column with a bold statement: I bet there’s barely a British business on budget for 2022. I am ridiculously positive but, at the moment, I am finding it difficult to turn adversity into opportunity. Yet I do resist talking endlessly about problems. 

Now, more than ever, we have to make tough choices and focus on the channels that are working well for us. And now, more than ever, your team need to be clear about the language and the intentional outcomes of your business. 

I recently spoke with Piers Linney and was reminded that we all go through highs and lows. Those who are most agile; those that continue to strive; and those who innovate and listen to customers; these are the companies who are best placed to survive.

Business growth, whatever your flavour, is tough and lonely. Therefore, meet up with others to learn and accelerate, because no one person knows all of the answers. And, at every meeting, please discuss your progress on the topic of sustainability. It needs to be at the top of every meeting agenda. This is a game changer, so make it part of your daily discussion. 

You need a network. You need supporters. Have you joined a local business network, such as an ‘enterprise dinner club’? It only has to be monthly but something that gets you out and about. 

Continually learn, train and then apply that learning. And there’s no harm in sharing it along the way? The value of taking people on a journey is hugely rewarding, but you do have to make time for yourself.

When individuals are both worried and stressed, I cannot think of a better moment to share the value of kindness. I have written a column for Elite Franchise all year and I am asking anyone who has enjoyed reading my thoughts, to give a little pay back. Why not invest in your teams by buying your corporate and staff presents for 2022 from

A carefully scripted note, or a personalised message – which we can add – these are things that make a huge difference when caring for your team. It’s a worthwhile investment in the wellbeing of your closest allies.

Everyone, including business leaders, make plenty of mistakes. Yet view these ‘errors’ as being part of your progress, while learning. And don’t be afraid to try again. Sometimes it is the timing, or the market, or the messaging that was wrong. What failed to work previously could simply have been timing. Entrepreneurs often need those marketing gurus, or operational support, to be the final piece of a successful business jigsaw.

I have recently given my team an extra day off to think about the wellness of mental health. Yet, my suggested message was challenged and improved upon by a member of my team. I always welcome correction and I celebrate a culture where all individuals are valued and given a voice to express themselves. Finding customers is always difficult and getting harder week-by week. So be creative. 

Be passionate about your niche proposition and always look to present its uniqueness. 

And even if there is no niche, sell as an original, and illustrate through brand building that you’re worth the price. The quality of your service is more important than ever. And ignore ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues at your peril.

While ‘gut feeling’ is good, do not disregard data. Capture data, capture connections, and build relationships. Find ways to aim high and even challenge small company owners to do it themselves. Challenge them to demonstrate that they are aware of customer needs, and that they recognise and understand the ever-changing marketplace. Trust others to help you progress the business. Systems and processes are a vital daily routine at most companies. But ‘petty-controlling’ is pointless.

Highlight your value-added products. Do you currently have a product that you consider ‘high value’? Visit where our wellness boxes are in demand and all because we have considered the importance of tight budgets. So what’s your value proposition? Surround yourself with great committed people. When times are tough these people make things work. But know when to take a break and when to stop.

Choose an enterprise where you build solutions and improvements. Something you feel passionate about. But it is never enough just to sell a product or a service. 

The joy of doing our daily tasks might also – in the current economic climate – be tinged with the loneliness of making tough decisions. Cash flow can restrict but you will always make more gains when you love the sector. Sometimes we should celebrate the art of ‘hanging-in there,’ because resilience usually pays dividends.

Be brave enough to aim higher than you might normally do, but remember that your time and health are your two most precious commodities. Get rid of anything that fails to move the sales needle. 

Lara Morgan
Lara Morgan

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