How To Make The Most of a Recession

Rome is burning, the sky is falling and demand for flight tickets to Australia has gone through the roof. Believe it or not, now is the time to take your business to new heights.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

In amongst all this turmoil, you're trying to run your business, pay salaries and find the silver bullet needed to thrive in these seemingly impossible times. The answer to your dilemma is actually quite simple.


Start by getting off social media and don't read, watch or listen to the news in any format. Most of your pain is emotional and fuelled by one-sided views.

It's important to understand the global and national context you're operating within, but very few of us take the time to read thoroughly and gather the full perspective. If you're going to pay attention to the news then make sure you read widely.

Search for good journalism that also reports on the "other' side of the story. Study international news to remove the feeling of grass being greener on the other side and then develop a good memory. Yes, our currency dropped overnight on the cabinet reshuffle but it also spent the first quarter of this year strengthening.

Once you've got your mindset right, get back to work and focus more than ever.

  • Reconnect with your "Why' and talk about it to everyone
  • Break down your goals into smaller milestones
  • Get into their space
  • Daily huddles
  • Celebrate small success.

Reconnect with your "Why' and talk about it to everyone

Clarity is half the battle won and if you know where you're going and why you're going there, you are much more inclined to deal with any deviations that come your way. Your staff also need you now more than ever to be the leader of the company and guide and support them in your mission.

In uncertain times get behind a cause you believe in and make sure your staff are behind you. Then tell everyone: Family, friends, clients, suppliers, staff, prospects, your bank manager and even strangers. If they see you're on a mission and going places they're more inclined to want to join and support you in getting there.

Break down your goals into smaller milestones

When people are uncertain they take longer to make decisions and we tend to play a bit of a "wait and see' game. Sales cycles get longer and although the money doesn't disappear it takes longer to leave their bank account and reach yours.

Take your goals (which dictate your KPIs) and break them down into smaller milestones. Instead of quarterly or monthly KPIs start focusing on weekly, daily and half-daily milestones. When you break down bigger targets to a daily or half daily measure they seem easier to achieve. You also ensure you don't get so far behind that it becomes impossible to catch up.

Get into their space

Sitting at work waiting for the world to change is never going to end well for you or your business. Get out from behind your desk, the counter or the office and get into the space of your staff and your clients. Start MBWA (Managing By Walking Around) and interact much more with your team.

You as the owner and your staff need to be in the face of your clients and prospects more often. Make sure you know their needs and have a great understanding of the full ambit of products or services you have to serve their needs. Educating and training your staff is therefore now more critical than ever.

Daily huddles

A standing (both regular and actually standing up and not sitting), five-minute huddle everyday with your team will work miracles for their morale and focus. Every day you have the opportunity to remind your team of the Why, reviewing the smaller milestones of yesterday and understanding what the pipeline is looking like (because you were in the clients' faces yesterday).

The team get to know exactly where everyone else is, it helps bring cohesion as a group and fosters a much more collaborative approach to problem solving and moving the company forward.

Celebrate small success

If you're starting to foster a great culture internally it's important to start celebrating the small successes. Remember to ramp up the praise and gratitude. Say thank you often and make it public.

Find simple yet profound ways of encouraging and supporting the team. Give movies tickets, have an employee of the month, bring chocolates for everyone and so forth. If you and the team focus on finding small wins, you slowly eradicate external noise. Make your business the shining light for your staff and your clients.

We're all in the same boat. Those who focus on the destination, plan ahead for challenges, respond faster than others and row like hell will not only survive but thrive.