business economics success thrive

10 Ways to Thrive in Tough Economic Times

Kirk Harris currently serves as president of Atlanta-based Kaptain Kirk Clothing Co. Harris’ love of apparel began with retail in the late '90s and in 2006 he founded his first clothing line. In 2012 his journey led him to apparel decoration and in 2014 he settled into his current position. He can be reached by email at KaptainKirkcc@yahoo.com, by phone at 404-396-7171, or linkedin.com/in/KaptainKirk. Visit his website, KaptainKirkClothingCo.com.

When facing a possible recession, the key to making it is to control your business. Target your top customers, make doing business with you as convenient as possible, scrutinize your money, and keep an eye on industry trends. If you are going to make it out of tough economic times, you have got to be aggressive. Here are 10 tips to help.

  1. Never stop marketing, cut your marketing, or reduce your marketing efforts. If your current options are too expensive, look to lower-cost options like emails, blogs, social media, podcasts, or newsletters. But stay in front of your customers.
  2. Create short-term sales goals, such as weekly, biweekly, or monthly. By focusing on shorter periods, you receive a more detailed understanding of your business faster. This puts you in a better position to understand where your business stands in the bigger picture and gives you a better vantage point, with more data, to make goal-focused adjustments.
  3. Know your money. This means tracking your income and expenses so that you have a solid idea of where you are at, at all times. Knowing where your money is coming from and where it is going are crucial to making sound financial decisions.
  4. Revamp your payment policies if necessary. Reduce or eliminate nets, and make sure you can and do deliver as promised.
  5. Communicate with your customers. Ask and listen until you understand their needs and desires, and until you can see how your product, services, or network can help them accomplish their goals.
  6. Continuously add value to your offerings. This does not have to be elaborate or expensive, and it can help keep customers returning and referrals coming.
  7. Customer service is critical. Whether during a recession or otherwise, everyone is interested in your customers. The way you take care of them is vital. Outstanding work, immediate responses, following-up, thanking them, and little extras never hurt.
  8. Network everywhere. People do business with people they like, know, and trust. Be friendly, personable, have a positive attitude, make sure they understand what you do, how to contact you, and that you can and will deliver.   
  9. Consider hiring. Especially during a recession, there are generally multitudes of people looking for work. The chances of finding quality individuals are higher and less costly than during times of prosperity.
  10. Communicate with your financiers. Excellent communication with the money people doesn’t hurt. Remember, banks do not want you to go out of business because they will never get paid, so talk terms earlier than later. 

In my book, recession talk is best saved for scary movies and ghost stories. Yet, regardless of the circumstances, everything is more manageable with a plan instead of happenstance dictating the terms.

—Kirk Harris, Kaptain Kirk Clothing Co.