12 top tips to help your small business survive a recession

12 top tips to help your small business survive a recession

Could your business survive a recession?

Are you concerned if your small business can survive a recession? With recent economic forecasts, it’s something more and more and more of us are thinking about.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), 57% of people in the UK were spending less on non-essentials due to the increase in the cost of living. This could have a significant impact on your business if you sell non-essential items.

With the further rise in energy costs looming ahead along with predictions we are heading into a recession, we will see even more cutbacks from our customers. So what can we do to prepare?

How to help your small business survive a recession

Prepare now

Don’t wait for a recession to happen. Plan and get prepared now. The businesses that do some forward planning will be the ones best placed to survive. Start building up cash reserves now and cutting down on unnecessary costs (see tips below).

Review your financial situation

Now is the time to redo your sales and cash flow forecasts. This can help you analyse if you are likely to hit any crisis months where you are going to be low on funds and prepare what to do about it.

Reduce your energy costs

With soaring energy costs, you are unlikely to be able to reduce costs but do everything you can to keep any rise in costs to a minimum.

  • Turn off all electrical equipment at the end of the day such as computers and printers. It may only contribute to a minimal degree but every little helps.
  • How many lights do you have on? Do you really need them all? Get one efficient desk lamp and use that if possible.
  • Turn down the heating and put on another layer of clothes.
  • When the weather is super-hot, rather than set up an air conditioning unit or turn on a fan, adjust your working hours to when your workspace is cooler if your business allows.
  • Cut back on the tea and coffee or fill up a flask to reduce the number of times you use the kettle.

Re-negotiate with or switch suppliers

When was the last time you reviewed prices with your suppliers? Check what you are paying and have a discussion as to whether they are able to give you a better deal. Has a new supplier come into the market with more competitive pricing? Go do your research and see if there is a better option out there for you. It’s highly unlikely to get any sort of deal at the moment but it’s worth keeping an eye out just in case.

Cancel unused subscriptions

How many subscriptions have you signed up for over the years that you no longer use? Or how many could you downgrade as you are not using all the services within your package? Go through them all now and you may be surprised how many you are signed up for that you no longer need. Get them cancelled now or stop any auto renewals.

Create additional revenue streams

  • Consider affiliate marketing or putting Google ads on your website.
  • Sell your photographs to stock photography websites.
  • Write an eBook or create an online course.

Offer lower-cost options to your customers

If you run a face-to-face business such as a masseur or lifestyle coach and your usual sessions run for an hour, offer a shorter session at a lower cost. This may keep your service affordable for some customers who are having to cut back. Consider a 20 or 30-minute ‘maintenance’ service.

Go mobile

With 42% of the population cutting back on non-essential travel according to the same report by the ONS, customers may stop travelling to your business if you are not immediately local to them. Whilst it may seem to be counterproductive to increase your own travel costs, consider travelling to your customers if your business can provide a mobile service.

The last thing you want to be doing is travelling from one place to another and back again all day. This is not time efficient or fuel efficient. Check if you have customers who live in the same area. Contact them to see if they would be interested in a mobile service on a certain day of the week. This way, if you get enough people, you can bulk book customers in the same area on the same day.

Move your business online

You may well have done this already during the Covid 19 lockdown and if you have stopped doing it, now may be the time to resurrect online services which may be more cost-effective for your customers. If you want your business to survive a recession and if you haven’t already looked at an online service, get creative and consider if any part of your business could take advantage of working online.

Start to offer one-to-one training or group tutorials. Record training videos or create a full course for customers to purchase.

Yoga and fitness classes saw a huge increase in online activity when they moved classes online during the Covid 19 lockdown. Here are a few ideas for other businesses:

  • Masseur – online tutorials on how to do self-massage
  • Hairdresser – online tutorials on how to style hair
  • Property Stager – diagnostic for styling improvements via photographs
  • Gardener – advice and landscaping design via photographs
  • Photographer – offer online photography courses and camera training

Rent out equipment/space

If people start cutting down on paying someone to do something for them, but the jobs still need doing, consider if you have any equipment you could rent out. Do make sure all items are fit for purpose and you have adequate insurance.

A gardener could rent out a lawnmower, hedge trimmer etc

If you have office space, rent out part of it or create a shared office. (I did this myself a couple of years ago. Where there was a decent size office, I shared it with another business owner. We both had our own space for our own desk, filing cabinet etc. This way we could share the rent and keep our costs down). If you currently rent your office space do check your rental agreement.

Focus on marketing

The fight for a share of the market when customers are decreasing is going to be more competitive than ever. Up your marketing activity. Look at how you can stand out from the competition and take your share of the market. Look at ways to attract as many new customers as you can.

Review your marketing channels

Whilst focusing on your marketing activities, make sure your marketing channels are up to date and as effective as they can be. Get a website review and make any necessary changes. It’s no use driving traffic to your website if your speed is too slow or your site is full of broken links. Use a reputable company such as Seahorse Creative which use a human being to review your site rather than a company that simply runs an online report via a site-checker site.

Ensure your social media channels have the correct information displayed and are consistent with your branding.

Give exceptional customer service

By giving exceptional customer service you increase your chances of retaining existing customers and also increase the chance of them referring you to someone else. This helps retain as much income as you can and increase your income with new customers.

To find out ways to review and improve the customer service you provide to make you stand out from your competitors, hop over to The Small Business Kit and watch the Customer Experience module. It’s just £29 to join. You get immediate access to this module and all the others and can cancel at any time.

Give your business the best chance to survive a recession

It will depend upon your individual business as to how many of these ideas you may be able to implement, but whatever you do, do something! If you want your small business to survive a recession the worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand and hope it will go away.

Feeling snowed under with work – what to do to get back on top

Feeling snowed under with work – what to do to get back on top

Yesterday I felt completely snowed under with work. This is how my day started off.

  • Logged into my laptop to find 58 new emails and 22 tasks flagged up by my CRM to be completed.
  • My brain went into overdrive! Stress levels started to rise. Brain fog descended with so much to do.
  • Looked at emails. Looked at CRM tasks. Glanced at my notepad at a new idea. Started on new idea. Aimed to just map out a few basic points to come back to.
  • Got completely sidetracked! Suddenly realised I had missed a client call!!!!!! How did I miss it? When I checked my phone reminder was on silent.
  • Stress levels rose dramatically.
  • Called the client and apologised profusely. Looked to rebook asap and my diary was chaotic. It didn’t look like I had time to breathe let alone book another appointment.
  • Spent an hour moving things around in my diary.
  • Started working through emails. Each email seemed to lead to another half dozen things to do. Three new requests for one-to-one coaching. Two enquiries about The Small Business Kit.
  • Head now in a complete spin. I felt completely and utterly snowed under and simply didn’t know how I was going to fit everything in.

And then I stopped. And I thought about what I would advise my one-to-one clients. And I started to put it all into practice myself.

What to do when you’re snowed under with work


Just look around you. Do you have a clean, welcoming, organised workspace? Or are you surrounded by half-drunk mugs of coffee, half a dozen notepads, sticky notes and scraps of paper, a scattering of business cards and various pens? Clear your workspace and clear your mind. Honestly, it works. Having only what you need in front of you helps you to retain focus and work in a more organised manner.

Create a to-do list

The next thing is to write down absolutely everything on your to-do list. Yes, everything. List down all those things swirling around in your frazzled brain, scribbled down on notepads, post-it notes and emails. Get everything out of your head and onto paper.


Now you have your to-do list you need to sort it out in order of priority. I use an online spreadsheet called Airtable. I list everything in there and then give each item a ranking as follows:

  1. Needs doing as a priority
  2. Needs doing this week
  3. Needs doing this month
  4. Would like to do it asap
  5. Would like to do it if I ever get the time

List with tasks listed in priority order for when snowed under with work You may find you have more than one to-do list. If you do, it can help to put everything into one list. You can add a column to state what the item relates to if you have more than one business or business sector. When you are going through your list delete anything that has been on there for what seems like years and realistically is never going to get done. Also, delete anything that now doesn’t seem like such a good idea or is outdated. I had quite a few of those! Now simply sort them in priority order.

Plan your diary

Open your diary or online calendar and block out times for 5-star priority items. Set 90-minute blocks of time. This time allows you to get laser focused to get stuck into the task without distractions. It’s long enough to get good quality work done but not too long that your brain starts to get frazzled. After each 90-minute block, set yourself 10 mins to check any incoming emails. Send a holding response if necessary so as not to let them take you off track unless urgent and they cannot wait. Then go stretch your legs and get some fresh air for 20 minutes. I promise you the change of scenery and fresh air will allow you to be far more productive than sitting at your desk for hours at a time. This way you will get 3x 90 minutes of focused work done each day on your priority tasks. If you complete all your priority tasks, move on to your 4-star ones. Below is a very simplistic example of what your diary could look like. This will of course depend upon your business. Your 5-star priority may be a client meeting which may take longer than 90 minutes so adapt accordingly. Organising a diary for when snowed under with work

Set up your workspace for the next day

At the end of each day, plan for the next. Re-prioritise your list moving 4-star items to 5-star if all the 5-star have been completed. Set out your workspace with just the items you need to complete your work for the next day, so you are all set and ready to go when you come back in the morning. It’s very therapeutic coming to a clean, tidy desk with everything set up rather than having to search through the clutter for what you need first thing.

Shut off

Now you have set yourself up for the next day’s work, knowing exactly what you are going to be working on and with everything ready to go, switch off. Yes, easier said than done I know but it’s so important to shut off from work to give your brain a break. It’s the same as if you are training for something such as running a marathon. If you push your body by running long distances every single day, eventually your muscles will give up, and you will become injured and won’t be able to run at all. Your muscles need a break to recover. Your brain is the same. Do whatever you enjoy to relax. Now, if you have a young, demanding family this may be a difficult thing to do. But take at least 30 minutes each day just for you. If you love reading, go to bed half an hour earlier and read. It’s important to have time for yourself so you don’t start to resent work and life in general.

Are you still snowed under with work?

But hey. What if the above is not enough? What if you never manage to clear your 5-star priority items and more work is coming in? What if you really can’t keep your head above water?

Review your prices

Firstly, look at your pricing. If you have more clients than you can handle, put your prices up! This way you can work smarter, not harder. You will be able to earn the same, if not more, money for the same number of hours. Now when I speak to my own clients about this, they tend to hate putting prices up. They don’t want to hack off existing clients. But business is all about supply and demand. And if you continue to run at a hundred miles an hour every day and continue to be snowed under one of two things will happen:

  1. You will start to make mistakes (like me!) And I can promise you if you continue to make mistakes that will certainly hack off your clients and you will lose business.
  2. You will get so stressed you become ill and won’t be able to work which will be a huge detriment to both you and your clients.

Write to your clients and explain that subject to a business review the decision has been made to increase prices. Don’t be afraid of losing a few. As mentioned, if you get your pricing structure correct, you will be able to make the same amount of money with fewer clients.

Let go of ‘less than perfect’ clients

This could be the perfect opportunity to go through your client list and let go of any who are no longer ideal for you. How about that over-demanding client who no matter what you do, is never good enough. How about the one who wants you at their beck and call 24/7 and has no respect for your private life. Which ones make your heart sink when you see their number pop up on your phone or their email arrive in your inbox? Go through your list and select any that aren’t right for your business anymore and write that email or letter to cancel your contract. Make it polite and professional but let them know after a review of your business, you do not have the capacity to work with them anymore. If possible, recommend someone else for them to work with.

Review your workload

What jobs are you simply not getting done or which do you hate doing and take up far too much of your time and contribute the most to your feeling snowed under? Make a list of them. Once you have the list, you can determine if there are ways of streamlining them. If there are jobs you really do hate and take up too much time, consider outsourcing to someone who could complete the work in a fraction of the time and possibly better than you. This could apply to your bookkeeping, marketing or blog writing. Now, look at the time you spend with prospects and clients.

  • If you get a lot of phone calls or email enquiries when people visit your website, set up an enquiry form to collect as much information as possible before you need to speak to them. This can save a huge amount of time.
  • How do you book appointments? Do you go back and forth via email? Set up an online booking system that does everything for you including taking any payments required.
  • Do you spend a lot of time answering the same questions? Set up a FAQ page on your website and direct people to that.

Download my Client Touchpoint checklist to help you get thinking about how you deal with clients and the time it takes. The Client Touchpoint checklist helps you identify the touchpoints you have with prospects and clients and think about ways to simplify and streamline the process of how you deal with them. The first sheet just gives a few examples. The second sheet is for you to print and complete. client touch points By following the steps above you should feel more in control and able to take an objective view of how your business is running and what you need to do to stop feeling snowed under with work. If you’d like a chat to review your business and identify areas for improvement, take a look at my one-to-one services or get in touch if you have any questions.

The key step to creating a successful business

The key step to creating a successful business

A top tip to creating a successful business from a 42-year-old millionaire.

Whilst on holiday, I got chatting to a chap who having retired at the ripe old age of just 42 appeared to have the key to creating a successful business.  From what I could gather he was a very wealthy individual and I had to dig deeper into what he did to become so successful at such a young age.

The very short story is that he took over a failing company, built it up, sold it for millions and retired.

When I asked how he built the business up so quickly, he told me he focused purely on customer service. Yes, the product had to be up to scratch but he concentrated on giving the best customer service he could, and then some. And the interesting thing is that after a year of him selling the business, it had started to fail and has since fallen bankrupt.

I can totally relate to this, as those of you who know me, will know I bang on about how the customer is the person who will make or break your business and if you are serious about creating a successful business, you need to give exceptional customer service at all times.

Aeons ago, I built up a failing estate agency practice to become one of the most successful in the chain of offices by focusing on customer service. As many of you may have discovered for yourself, customer service is severely lacking in the majority of estate agencies. I made sure every single vendor and buyer was contacted each week to let them know what was going on with the sale and purchase. I made sure every single person looking for a property was contacted at least once a month to update their details and discuss what was happening in the marketplace.

All our clients and contacts knew we were working behind the scenes to do the best for them and that our staff cared. This resulted in a HUGE turnaround for the agency and we won many awards.

Focus on customer complaints

When I started as Operations Director for another company, it had no less than six full-time workers dealing with customer complaints. I was asked to help sort out the sales staff so more customers could be brought on board. Rather than doing this, I focused on the complaints, what was causing them and ways to stop them from happening again. This resulted in eventually having just one person answering the phone to complaints on an ad hoc basis with a huge increase in turnover due to cancellations being reduced dramatically.

Too many businesses don’t focus on existing customers and are always looking to find new ones. Take care of your existing customers and clients who will appreciate your efforts, keep coming back to buy from you and bring new people with them.

Remember, it can take months to find a new customer but just seconds to lose one.

Create an exceptional customer experience

If you would like to find out how to create a customer experience that is the key to creating a successful business and gets you remembered for all the right reasons, check out the module in my member’s area which includes:

  • Customer service review sheet to score your business in different areas
  • A client touch point sheet with examples of how to ‘wow’ your customers
  • A sample follow-up plan to stay in contact with your customers
  • A client contact sheet template

Access the module now.

How to get your business back on track

How to get your business back on track

What to do when you wake up and realise you are going in the wrong direction and need to get your business back on track

Just recently, on my coaching calls, more than one person has had the same feelings.  They were feeling uneasy because their businesses weren’t fulfilling them as much as they had expected.

They weren’t full of excitement when they thought of doing what they are doing now in 10 years’ time.

They had come to the realisation that rather than following their absolute true passion, they had taken the easy option of doing something they were good at and brought the money in quickly.

Whilst this could be viewed as a sensible option to start with, it’s just not sustainable.

Two particular ladies were going through difficult times and had lost all excitement and enthusiasm for their business.  They just felt as though they had fallen off track.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin

What you need to learn in building a successful business, is to be adaptable.

You need to be prepared to amend your success plan and goals subject to mitigating circumstances.  We never know what is around the corner and how our plans may have to change.

Take circumstances over the past two years as an example.

Covid hit, business tightened their belts when they couldn’t trade, and many business owners say their customers dwindle, myself included.

I had to diversify as business coaching clients dropped off and members of The Small Business Kit started to cancel.  I joined forces with another businesswoman I knew and we set up a new marketing company to do the hands-on work to get businesses seen online so these could still attract customers through the lockdown.

I had no idea this new marketing business would become all-consuming. We were run off our feet and turning work away, even after taking on additional help.

Lockdown finished during which many people had decided they didn’t want to return to their 9 – 5-day job. They valued the time freedom they benefited from during the lockdown. But as I had been so busy with the marketing company, I had taken my eye off The Small Business Kit. I had been taken down a different route and found myself running from one thing to the other and getting more and more frustrated as something didn’t feel right. I was in a complete muddle – can anyone else relate?

Go back to the drawing board to get your business back on track

I had to go back to the drawing board.

I looked at what my original plans were and knew I wanted to go back to focusing on The Small Business Kit. I had to limit the number of online coaching clients I had and stop taking on any more marketing clients. I started passing any new client to my fabulous and more than able colleague so I could put my full focus into updating The Small Business Kit and getting it relaunched once again.

This was where my passion lay and I loved it and missed it. I knew it helped so many women starting and growing their businesses, many of whom tell me they wouldn’t be where they are today if they hadn’t used it. I have members who have gone from home baking to opening retail premises. I have members who were struggling to make ends meet and who now have six-figure incomes. And I wanted to return to help more do the same.

If you wake up one day and realise you aren’t where you want to be, you need to find a way to get your business back on track.

If you aren’t feeling the love for your business anymore, dig deep to find out what your passion truly is and look for what changes you can make to keep your passion, and business, alive long term.


Why you may be losing customers because of broken promises

Why you may be losing customers because of broken promises

Have you been losing customers and not sure why?

If you’ve been losing customers, maybe it’s because you have been breaking promises you cannot keep.

“What?” I hear you exclaim!  Me?  Break promises?  Never!

Well good on you if you don’t because I have discovered there are far too many out there who do.  And I bet they are losing numerous customers because of it without even realising.

You can have the best product or service on the market and exactly what your customer is looking for, but if you let them down during the customer journey they will walk.

Over the past couple of months, I have been promised numerous things from thank you gifts for completing surveys, to information sheets following up treatments to trial samples of products.  These are the small things you think may not matter. But if they fail to be delivered they matter a lot! The potential customer loses faith in your ability to look after them.

And then there are the bigger ticket items where a potential customer has asked for a quote. You promise to get it to them within 48 hours and two weeks later they are still waiting!

At first, I wondered if it was just me.  But then I started to notice a few times on social media where someone had run a promotion, promised to send the prize to the winner, but had failed to do so.  The winner had turned from being delighted to being somewhat snarky and having to ask publicly when they were going to receive their prize.

And I’m seeing more and more on social media and hearing first-hand of people who have been let down.

And I have to be honest when someone promises me something that I haven’t asked for I am delighted and excited.  But when the said item fails to materialise, I feel a little narked.  Why did they bother offering anything in the first place? And if I’ve expressed an interest in buying from them and asked for a price or samples to try before I buy, if I get radio silence in return rather than what I was promised, I get seriously miffed and vow never to use them again.

Get organised and stop losing customers

Before you go making quick off the cuff promises to impress, think carefully if you can actually deliver on your promise.  And if you can, get organised!!  Carry a notebook or diary at all times and write down what you have promised to do.  And then do it!

If you don’t keep your promises, you could well be losing customers. In fact, I almost guarantee it.

I purchased from a lady recently and was fully prepared to buy again.  When chatting with her she promised to send me a free gift to try first.  When it failed to arrive, I felt that she didn’t really care about my custom and didn’t really care if I went back and purchased again or not.  So, I didn’t.  And I am sourcing someone else to buy from.

I could give you a shedload of other examples from buying a car, a new kitchen, new flooring, a holiday, a spa day and the list goes on.

If you don’t keep up your end of the bargain, buyers will lose trust in you.  They won’t believe that you will be able to deliver in the future and so may take their hard-earned money elsewhere. And the knock-on of this is they will tell others how you let them down gaining you a bad reputation. A survey back in 2020 by Forbes showed that no less than 96 of customers would leave a company if they experienced bad customer service.  Another survey in 2017 by American Express stated that customers who have a bad customer experience tell an average of 15 people! And I bet you it’s way more than that now with the increase in social media being used to out companies.

But the worrying thing is that whilst they are telling anyone and everyone who will listen, they may not be telling you about their unhappy experience with you. You simply don’t understand why they haven’t come back to buy. That’s if you remember them at all of course.

Stop over-promising

The interesting thing is that research shows the companies who break promises tend to be repeat offenders. This could be down to bad organisation or they are just way too busy to deliver on their promises. If you fall into this category, be honest with people and stop making those promises. You have more chance of selling to someone who isn’t expecting something you can’t deliver on.

We all know the old adage of ‘under promise and over deliver’ so stop setting unrealistic expectations and making promises you can’t keep.

Go back and look through past prospects and clients.  Did you promise anything that you failed to deliver?  If so, see if it’s not too late to rectify the situation and gain that trust back.

And for the future, set yourself up with a simple database. Every time you have contact with someone, go update their record and set yourself a task to do what you promised to do. It’s not rocket science.

And look on the flip side. If you do keep your promises, give great customer service and make your customers feel valued, you can create repeat customers for years to come.

How to overcome self-doubt

How to overcome self-doubt

How often do you wish you overcome your self-doubt and those self-limiting beliefs so you can move forward with your business with confidence?

Quite often I suspect.

This past week alone I have spoken with a number of clients (all women I may add) who have all told me they are doubting their abilities, feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of running a business on their own and are lacking the confidence to be able to move forward.

Does this sound like you? Overcoming self-doubt is one of the top challenges faced when running your own business.

You start off guns a blazing with a fantastic idea running around in your head and the world is rosy.  You are going to be a millionaire by year 3 – and then reality kicks in.  Things don’t take off quite as quickly as you had hoped.  The hours you have to put into your new venture are far longer than you anticipated.  You feel guilty for not spending as much time with your family as you had hoped.  So the self-doubt creeps in. Maybe you aren’t cut out for this after all.  Maybe your fantastic idea isn’t quite as wonderful as you first thought.

How to overcome self-doubt

Overcome self doubt quote

Firstly stop what you are doing. Stop right now!

Sit back and instead of thinking about all the things that you haven’t achieved and the things that haven’t worked, write down all the things that you have learnt along the way and how you have grown personally.

Look at all the things you have achieved, no matter how small. Take a blank piece of paper and let all your thought spill out into written words. Get them out of your head where they are swirling around and on to that piece of paper. Then take one thing at a time and work out how you are going to get back on track.

This may be re-evaluating a time frame for getting that event off the ground. It may be changing the way you are marketing your business as what you are doing at the moment is just not working. It may be a realisation that you need external help as you really cannot cover every aspect of the business on your own. Take some time to re-plan and regain your focus. Then put some practices in place on a daily basis to help keep you on track.

  • Each day, write down 3 things that you are grateful for. This will help you focus on what you do have in your life that is working well and will help you stop focusing on the negative.
  • Read a chapter of a motivational book each day or listen to an audio. This can be a great way of keeping inspired and finding new ways to keep motivated.
  • Find a mentor, whether on a professional basis or a friend you can turn to when sometimes all you need is someone to listen and hold your hand. Find someone you trust and respect and who can help reassure you in those times of doubt.

Whatever you are feeling, remember that you are not alone. Self-doubt is a normal process that happens to everyone at every level of success. Take some time out, refocus on the positive, then pick yourself up and move that tiny step forward towards your goal.

If you would like help with your mindset and motivation, access the modules available in The Small Business Kit.