Prepare Your Business For A Recession

While different countries and industries slip into recessions at different times, the potential for a recession to impact your business and your customers is always prevalent. With so much economic, political, and trade uncertainty looming, it's a good idea to build a "recession preparation plan" before you need it.

To help you get started, we've compiled a list of eight strategies you can implement now to better ready your company to face a future recession.

1. Build a cash reserve

The recommended supply of cash you should have reserved varies depending on who you ask, but the average suggested amount is between 6–12 months of operating expenses. There’s one wrinkle to this: Money just sitting in a bank and not working for your company is a wasted resource. You’ll have to do some careful balancing to make sure your money is in the best place for your company.

Trade credit insurance from Allianz Trade can help tip the scales in your favor by securing your accounts receivables, making cash flow forecasting easier.  

2. Safeguard your cash flow

Cash will always be flowing out of your business, never fear about that, so you need to secure and protect the cash coming in to your business. Communicate often and clearly with those companies who owe you money. Make sure they are used to your billing patterns and practices. Remember, they will also face hard times when the recession hits (and might even be reading these tips, too)—weather the storm together. Remind them of how important they are to your business and vice versa. Become indispensable, so when they pick which bills to pay first, your company’s invoices are always on top of the stack.

You can also maximize your cash conversion cycle by reducing Days Sales Outstanding, offering your customers early payment discounts and providing good collections practices. One customer defaulting on an invoice can be devastating, especially in a recession. Allianz Trade's trade credit insurance makes sure you get paid even if there is a nonpayment, which reduces the impact of a bad debt on your cash flow and profitability. For more tips on this topic, read the related e-book, How to Avoid Non-Payment from Customers.

3. Establish your creditworthiness

Always make sure your payments to creditors are on time. In fact, be early if you can and pay off your debt if possible. This will give your business a favorable behavior score.

Once you have a good behavior score, it’s time to push creditors for longer terms (net30 or more), discounted terms (2/10, net30 - where you save a percentage if you pay early), and even larger lines of credit. Renegotiating credit terms before there’s an economic event is the best way to be prepared when things get rocky. With Allianz Trade protecting your incoming cash flow, staying on top of payments to your creditors is easier than ever.

4. Examine and evaluate operating costs

Reduce your expenses, but do so smartly. Renegotiate the lease for your office space, find less expensive office supplies, and reevaluate the services your business really needs to survive. Trade credit insurance is a very cost-effective way to insulate your business from the destructive winds of recession. It normally costs only a fraction of a percentage of the amount insured.

And finally, examine your staff. If any employees need to leave, make that happen before a recession, not during. Make sure any layoffs are done with lots of thought—you don’t want to damage company morale or shrink your staff so much you won’t be able to properly provide for your customers. 

5. If you have inventory, manage it carefully

Just like your staff, you want to have just the right amount of inventory to serve your customers. If you can, talk to your suppliers and create a plan to ensure more inventory turns so your inventory never stagnates. If you’ve spoken to them about credit terms and made plans regarding inventory, your suppliers will see how dedicated and prepared you are to succeed.

If for any reason your suppliers are unwilling to work with you, Allianz Trade helps you have options. We can offer credit terms to new customers or higher credit lines to current customers, which can help increase your inventory turnover ratio. 

6. Secure financing before you need it

Having a good relationship with your current (and possible future) lenders is an important step in supporting your working capital needs. These relationships also provide your company flexibility to weather any economic turbulence or capitalize on advantageous opportunities. Ensuring your banker knows your company well and believes in your strategy is key.

As Entrepreneurs’ Organization states, “The best time to look for capital is when you don’t need the money.” Allianz Trade's trade credit insurance can help you get additional financing capacity by including insured receivables in your borrowing base.

7. Never stop marketing

You might guess one way to conserve expenses is to cut back on your marketing budget. But stop and think: How will new customers know about your company and services if you stop advertising? Continuing your advertising through adverse times projects your company as a true leader, teaches your current customers they are in good hands, and gives new companies confidence to do business with you. The return on investment to your cash flow will be brilliant.

One place to expand your business is internationally, especially if international markets are outside of the recession blast zone. Allianz Trade provides credit analysis and protection on companies all over the world, which can make stepping out on the global stage much easier. View our Country Risk Reports  to plan and manage international trade.

8. Find trusted partners

By taking the steps above, you’ll find which companies out there want to work with you and which just want to take your money and services. You’ll also discover who will weather the recession alongside you, and who will drown.

Allianz Trade is here to be not only your life raft, but also your cruise director. By providing protection from unpaid invoices, offering credit evaluation assistance, and giving guidance to help you expand your business into new markets and areas of the world, Allianz Trade is ready to help your business succeed, even through a recession.  Click here to contact us today.

Allianz Trade Has the Tools to Help Prepare Your Business For a Recession

The good thing about preparing your business to weather a recession is it will put your company in a better place, full stop. You will be better prepared to come out the other end of adversity soaring over your competition.

We’ve prepared the Past Due Survival Kit to help you better prepare for a recession, knowing that unpaid invoices could become a growing pain point. Download your kit now.