More Millionaires Are Made In Recessions

More Millionaires Are Made In Recessions

The past two years haven’t been much fun, “turbulent times” is putting it mildly and we’re not down from the rocky trail just yet. I agree that there has been stress and panic but there is good news too: this is where your business can take off.

It might not seem like your business is poised for growth right now, but I can tell you, this is where the magic happens…okay, maybe magic wasn’t the best choice of words, it’s not going to happen by itself. You’ll need to be willing to shift your mindset from surviving to thriving and rethink a few of your business strategies, but the results don’t lie. More millionaires are made in recessions. The question is: Are you brave enough?

Every business has room for improvement behind the scenes. Inflation or recession or a massive crisis is the prime time to go back and do some investigating. When you locate trouble spots and make changes that streamline your systems (or actually put systems in place if you haven’t done that yet) you make it easier to get through the chaos with less stress and financial pain.

Business doesn’t need to be complex, you can make it simpler to see better results. 

The payoff comes when the situation gets back on its feet (and it will) and you have a more efficient, highly polished and well-thought business approach that breezes ahead of the competition and sees you net some serious success.

Business Growth Mindset

It all comes down to what you want to do: survive or thrive. Business owners tend to put their actions behind whatever seems less risky – but how risky something is is a matter of opinion. For example, not taking action, cutting costs and limiting your reach to save money during a challenge seems safe in the short term, but it can mean you set yourself up to crash when the economy recovers….that’s a pretty big risk.

When I started my first business Seight, I didn’t expect it to take off as quickly or as successfully as it did. I was in my element and was earning enough to quit my day job only two years from starting. What I didn’t know is that there was a lot more I could have been earning. My systems were immature and unrefined. It didn’t occur to me to do anything differently, why would I when things were working so well?

What it took for my business to mature was a financial crisis. The Australian dollar tanked and I went from big profits to big debts fast because my raw materials were purchased in US dollars and it ate up my profit margins. What happened was I was forced to make a choice, would I let my business sink and hope to recover when the dollar climbed out of the pit it was in, or would I step up?

It’s not the situation, it’s your willingness to keep seeing, anticipating and meeting the gaps in the market, those things will always continue – and even open up as the financial world around us changes.

Which small business option will you take?

Option One: Survive

Survival business owner is just waiting for the fat lady to sing. Basically, it’s a duck and cover technique where you cut back expenses, limit marketing and hope there is enough of the business left to start again when it’s all over.

Option Two: Thrive

A thriving business owner looks at the situation and thinks

  • What opportunities are available?
  • How can I reach my audience from here?
  • What can I do to offer help and solutions to my customers?

A downturn is merely a chance to rethink operations and devise a plan to push it forward.

The business owners who go on to become multi-millionaires take option two. In fact, it’s common that during or soon after a recession there’s money on offer, if you are brave enough to go find it.

How to see growth opportunities in any market

To identify a new opportunity you need to look, listen, learn and be nimble. The smaller your business is, the more agility you have but this is something any business of any size can pick up and bring in.

#1. Look at what you offer

Even if your service offering has worked its way up the start-up ranks to be a healthy business, with the shifting dynamic you need to stay in demand and find ways to keep a healthy profit margin. Review what you offer to customers and assess if it’s what they need right now (they’re facing the tough times too).  A small tweak might be enough to meet their new needs. Even if your business has been successful in the past, it is important to know your worth and be willing to adapt to the changing needs of your customers in order to stay in demand.

#2. Listen to your customers

Or rather, listen again. It’s a mistake to make the perfect product and never revisit it. People change, technology changes, competition changes and all these things influence what your customers expect and crave. This gets even more intense with a drastic change in circumstance so no matter how well you might have listened before, it’s time to tune in again.

What’s the biggest pain point they now face? Ask your customers how you can solve it for them. If one customer is going through something and needing assistance, it’s likely others are too.

#3. Learn about the changing face of your industry

The learning curve never stops in business. If you want any kind of success you need to make mistakes and learn from them. You don’t have to do it all yourself, shortcuts exist. Talk to business owners who have already achieved the goals you have set and hear their experiences, recommendations and setbacks so you can bypass some of the big traps. The attitude you need to adopt here is to learn as much as you can about your industry and how it’s evolving.

#4. Be nimble and act quickly

Opportunities to be the first to do something new in business don’t come around too often. If you see a gap swoop in fast. You’ll need to back up your move with some solid systems and processes in place to execute a change in direction. Again this comes back to getting your systems simplified and streamlined. A surprising number of businesses operate without any solid systems at all, making it really stressful to change direction or scale, so get on this, and make it a priority. It takes a bit of time but without it, you’ll be building up on a wonky foundation. Perfecting your internal systems and communications is critical. If you can’t physically accommodate it internally, you can’t offer it externally.

Case study: An events company with no venue

When you build your company on face-to-face events something like COVID lockdowns and venue restrictions can kill your business, especially when your clients have already paid upfront for your next event. This was the stressful situation one of my clients faced.

The biggest struggle was overcoming the feeling that they weren’t going to survive. Their initial focus was on everything they stood to lose. That was something I addressed before anything else. I reminded them that they were there to support their customers and provide an event for them. I encouraged them to look at the bigger picture, outside the numbers and losses and find a way to continue to deliver a rewarding service to their customers.

With that as the focus, brainstorming could begin and solutions could be found. The answer: offer an online event service.

It worked. While many other businesses went on to follow suit as lockdowns lengthened, being one of the first to manage online event hosting meant my client not only kept a very grateful customer base, they gained more followers as other events companies around them floundered in the problem instead of focusing on solutions.

Changing to an online event portal for the foreseeable future also served to solve their issues by reducing internal costs. Solving the customer challenges was what ended up seeing their business thrive

Opportunities don’t stop simply because the situation goes from good to bad to terrible. There is a reason why some companies tank and others escalate.

If you are willing to be brave and can override the negative mindset and panic to see the bigger picture you can focus on what your customers really need and find new avenues to deliver it.

Join a group of growth-mindset business owners in my free Facebook group, The Business Evolution, and watch your business thrive while others try to survive.