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.

When emails can be bad for communication

When emails can be bad for communication

Lost in communication

A word of caution and why emails can be bad for communication.

I sent an email yesterday and was stunned to find that someone took offence to it. When we discussed it, they had read it in a completely different way from what it was intended.

They had read what was meant as a supportive sentence as an accusatory one. I felt sick to the stomach that I had unintentionally upset them. But when we had a phone conversation to find out what went wrong, it was like a light bulb came on in both our heads.

We had both read exactly the same words but read them in a completely way due to the way we read them.

Thankfully, all was sorted out but do be aware of how our words come across and that the written word can be lost in communication.

What I mean by that is each person who reads it may glean a different understanding of what you have written depending on which word they put the inflection on.

Here’s a classic example. Take the following sentence which contains seven words:

I never said she stole money

Now read it putting the inflection on a different word each time and see how the meaning of the same sentence changes. It can be read with a different meaning in seven different ways!

  1. I never said she stole my money. This means they are stressing it was someone else who accused her. Not them.
  2. I never said she stole my money. This means they are stressing they never ever said that.
  3. I never said she stole my money. This means they never actually accused her of stealing money, or that they actually wrote it instead of speaking.
  4. I never said she stole my money. This means they never said it was the girl who stole the money, but someone else stole it.
  5. I never said she stole my money. This means they never said she explicitly stole it, but did something else with it like borrowed it.
  6. I never said she stole my This means they are stressing it was someone else’s money she stole, not theirs.
  7. I never said she stole my money. This means it wasn’t money she stole, but something else.

Their understanding could also differ depending upon what mood they are in. If they are feeling grumpy, they may read it in a negative manner. I know I have had to pull myself up before when I’ve been rushed and stressed and about to react negatively to a message. When I take a few deep breaths and re-read it, I have a totally different perspective.

If you have something important to say, pick up the phone or use a voice app. It may just save a very awkward situation.

Have you had an experience with emails causing bad communication? Share your experience in the comments below.


How To Keep Your Emails Under Control

How To Keep Your Emails Under Control

How many emails do you have in your inbox?

So how many emails do you have sat unchecked in your inbox?  I had a message from a lady yesterday who had 16555!!!!  And yes, she told me this was not a typing error!!  This is a frightening thought.  If you have read the article The dangers of an overflowing inbox you will know that this could be costing her business a great deal of money from missed opportunities and disgruntled clients.

But if you find yourself in this situation, or something rather less extreme but still rather concerning, read on to find out what to do.

How to clear and control your email inbox

Firstly, if you have anything like the amount of undealt with emails as above, you are going to have to be ruthless.  It takes time for this amount to build up so, in the law of averages, anyone who had anything you needed to respond to will have probably given up on you by now.

Block out a day to deal with them

To really sort out your inbox problem, you are going to have to put aside some time.

Block a day out in your diary and turn off everything apart from your emails.  That means your phone, Facebook and anything else that is going to distract you.

The five-second rule

Sort your emails in reverse order and then be strict.  Click on each one and give yourself no more than 5 seconds to decide whether to ditch it or deal with it.  I don’t mean deal with it now.  I mean that it is important enough to keep and deal with later.  If you haven’t made the decision within 5 seconds, the decision has been made for you.  Go ahead and hit delete.

Be strong here folks.  It is the only way you are going to get through this with the minimum amount of pain.

Now based on the extreme example above of 16,555 emails, using this method would take a full 23 hours to complete and that is not allowing for any comfort breaks, food or drink breaks or your eyes giving up completely on what they are focusing on.

So in this scenario, I would simply go in and delete all but the last two months’ worth of mail (or even more than that if you get over 150 emails per day).

Hopefully by the end of this, and yes it will take time, you will have a slightly more manageable number to deal with so give yourself a pat on the back.

Block out more time

Yes, more time is needed.  These emails didn’t all pop up at once overnight so don’t think they can all be dealt with instantly.

You now need to go back and once again in reverse order, deal with them.  This does not mean reading them and saving them for later or putting them into a folder.  You won’t ever get back to them.  Deal with them or delete.  Ruthless and simple once again.  If you need to send a reply to someone, make it short and sweet.  Try and keep it to a one-liner where possible.

If you have subscribed to newsletters and have articles you want to read, later on, my guess is that you won’t have time, so get rid of them and have a clear inbox to read new articles as they come in. If you really have to keep them, send them to Evernote or create a folder on your bookmarks bar and save each article in there.

How to keep future emails under control

Once you have completed the mammoth challenge, give yourself a HUGE pat on the back and give yourself a treat – I believe treats are incredibly important to reward ourselves having done a good job!

But how are you going to control your inbox in the future?


First of all, go visit Unroll Me.  This is a neat bit of kit (and free) that lets you see how many sites, newsletters etc you have subscribed to.  It can be quite scary!  It will scan your inbox and then give you the option of choosing which subscriptions you want to keep and which you want to delete.  You will probably find that you have signed up to numerous ones just to get a freebie or access to a site, so if the site no longer interests you, get rid of it.

As the site says:

With just one click, you can unsubscribe from the emails that you never want to see again. And for the subscriptions, you’d still like to receive? Add them to your Rollup!  Instead of being bothered with newsletters and deals every 3 minutes, your subscriptions are organized into one daily email, sent to you at the time of your choosing.

Make sure you put all your non-work subscriptions into Rollup and have them delivered at a time when you are not normally working.  I set mine for the evening when (hopefully) I have finished work and am on downtime.

Dealing with new emails

Remember how you dealt with all those old emails?  That is exactly how you need to deal with new ones.  You read, take action, and delete or save.  No scrolling through to see which ones you want to read.  Deal with and move on.

This does take practice, but I promise you, it is worth it when you get the hang of it.

If you really struggle, have just one folder titled ‘to deal with later’.  Diarise once a week to go through this folder and anything that gets to one-month-old needs to be deleted.  If you haven’t dealt with it by now, you never will.

Getting and keeping emails under control is an important daily process that will help you be more productive and help you make sure you don’t miss that all-important gem that you may have otherwise missed.

Small business tips for surviving the coronavirus

Small business tips for surviving the coronavirus

Take a look through these tips to help your small business survive (and retain a sense of humour where possible).

Tip number one is to not panic. Panic doesn’t help anything and is more likely to harm your business than the virus itself.


Now, more than ever, it’s critical to communicate with your customers about what protective measures you’re putting in place and how they will be protected when they visit your business.

Let them know you are taking the situation seriously and care about their welfare.  Make the communication about the customer though, not just about you.  I saw one post where the business owner was telling people they didn’t want to get infected, so customers needed to ensure they didn’t have the virus before visiting.  Yes, a valid point but the way it was worded would have put me off visiting even if I knew I was clear.

Take a tip from this gym who are retaining a sense of humour (love the last paragraph)

A screenshot of a social media post

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Look at your cash flow NOW

Cash is king.  Do not wait until you run out.

Take a good hard look at your cash flow.  How much do you have on hand and how long will it realistically last for?  Can you make it last for six months or longer?  If not, what can you do about it?  How you cut costs or increase income.  It’s time to get creative and think outside the box. More on this in a moment.

Control expenses

When was the last time you took a good hard look at where your money is going?  Are there any areas that you can cut costs? Do you have online or magazine subscriptions that you don’t really use?  Cancel or pause them.  Are you paying too much for your insurance? Are you spending money on Facebook ads that have never got you a return on investment?  Stop them!

Talk to suppliers and see if you can work together to find a way to ease the burden for you both.

Reduce what you pay yourself. Yes, it’s time to tighten your belt.

Look at your household budget also as to where you can make savings.  Is now the time to switch energy supplier and get a better deal?

Again, how many subscriptions do you have.  Do you really need Amazon Prime, Audible, Sky and Netflix?  How about dropping one or more for a few months.

How often do you eat out or grab takeaways?  If income is reduced, it’s time to start cooking fresh again (if you can get your hands on pasta and rice that is!).  Look on the positive of how much healthier you will be.

Get creative with your marketing and services. 

Now is the time to look at doing things differently.  A few quick ideas are listed below:

Travel and tourism

The travel, tourism and hospitality businesses are being hit hard.  So are those businesses that run workshops and conferences.

Where your business simply cannot deliver what you normally do, create vouchers for the future and promote the hell out of these.

This one is going to take some effort, but if you have clients who have had to cancel travel plans, how about offering a ‘holiday box’.  Create holiday boxes for different countries. For France, you could include French wine, cheese, croissants and a recipe card for Coq au Vin or a voucher to a local French restaurant (providing they are still open!)  Yes, this will take planning and may not be right for you or your business but it’s trying to come up with creative ideas for extra income.

Or how about a Live the Spanish Life card.  Jot down what clients have to do each day for a week in a typical Spanish day.  Include dressing up for mid-morning coffee and a light bite to eat, afternoon Siesta, sightseeing (suggest a video set in Spain), go for a stroll and eating tapas.


If you run workshops, think about running smaller groups and explaining that you will be keeping participants two metres apart.

If workshops etc cannot run, either because you need to cancel or the participant does not want to attend anymore, offer a credit note for a future date rather than a refund which will hit your bottom line.

Can you run the workshop via group video conferencing?  Send everyone the materials they will need or ask them to get their own.

Food industry

If you are in the food industry, can you do deliveries or offer take-aways.  A pub/restaurant local to me has already set up a takeaway and delivery service.  They are staying calm and thinking ahead!

Coaches and counsellors

If you are a coach or counsellor, continue sessions where possible via video conferencing.

Fitness instructors

Record do at home routines and send to members.  Do a group online session – could be fun!

Masseurs/Beauty therapists

Create gift cards and vouchers.  Sell your massage oils and products.

All businesses

Offer gift cards for later use – this can apply to practically anything!

Is there anything you can start to sell online?  Products are easy but even with services, how about doing some video tutorials and selling? Your loyal customers may be happy to purchase these from you to help support you.


If your clients are virus-free, assure them you are too and promote that cleanliness is even more important now.

Increase your marketing efforts

If more people are going to be at home, more people may have time to go online.  Up your online marketing. 

Ask customers to support you.  There are still plenty of people who aren’t panicking and whilst they can, are going about their daily lives as normal.  I saw a post for a pub that explained that they were starting to struggle.  They explained what precautions they were taking and asked for people to support them.  I visited them yesterday!

The day to day practicalities

Work remotely

If you employ staff, can they work remotely?  Test out a system now rather than wait.  Set up a remote work policy that covers when you expect your team to be online or available, how to communicate (via email, video call etc), and what each team member is responsible for.

Have an emergency plan

If you get the virus you need to be prepared.

Keep your database up to date of everyone you meet through your business.  You will need to let them know if you become infected.

Let customers know what has happened, how long you will be closed for and when you will re-open.  Assure them you will open only when you have had the all-clear and a deep clean has taken place

In a worst-case scenario, if your business goes on lockdown, use the time wisely.  Do a full business review.  What has been working and what hasn’t.  What could you do differently?

I had a client call me who was in complete meltdown as her business is suffering terribly already.  Once we got through the tears and panic, we came up with some ideas for the future that she would have never thought about otherwise.  As she said ‘she was suicidal when she called me but finished up laughing and excited for the future.

You are not alone in this.  There will be people far worse off than you are.  You WILL get through this, however painful the process. Just keep things in perspective and if all else fails, remember the Buddhist chart to worrying:

P.S. Keep an eye on the government advice and business grant and business rate relief

P.P.S. If you would like a chat about how to help your business survive or help with your marketing get in touch

How The Collapse Of Thomas Cook Affects Your Business

How The Collapse Of Thomas Cook Affects Your Business

This week has seen the very sad news of Thomas Cook going into administration.

And let me tell you if a long-standing firm of 178 years in business can collapse, then we should all sit up and take notice.


Because if it can happen to a household name paying directors huge sums of money, it can happen to ‘amateurs’ like you and me.

In my humble opinion, there are two key reasons for the collapse of Thomas Cook.  And they can both easily happen to you.

They didn’t manage the money

The first and most easily identifiable reason is they simply didn’t manage the money.  End of!  A business is only successful if it is profitable, and Thomas Cook wasn’t.

Yes, that is a hugely simplistic statement to make but I see all too many small businesses go under for the same reason.

They forget to review their outgoings and make changes or cuts where needed such as Thomas Cook keeping over 500 high street outlets when other travel companies moved solely online.  They make investments that haven’t been researched thoroughly enough and which don’t give a return on investment.  Thomas Cook merged with a company that had only ever once made a profit itself.

This causes the business to sink deeper and deeper into debt and take riskier gambles to try and recoup their losses.  It’s a road to disaster.

Cashflow isn’t planned such as with Thomas Cook taking booking payments in the first part of the year but then having huge costs going out in the latter part of the year when income was low.

And owners keep paying themselves even when the business is in financial trouble.  Thomas Cook continued to pay dividends right up to last November even though they had been in serious trouble for some time.  If the profits aren’t there, stop paying yourself until they are!

They didn’t keep up with the changing needs of customers

The holiday choices of Thomas Cook customers have changed, but they didn’t identify this and react quickly enough.

As already mentioned, Thomas Cook kept 500 outlets on the high street with high rental and staffing costs where most people started to book online.
The holiday choices of their customers changed.  Rather than the traditional beach holiday, customers started to book more city breaks.  Thomas Cook failed to react to this and other travel agents picked up the city break business.

And of course, the B-word had an impact.  Brexit!  With the uncertainty of the British population not knowing what was going to happen economically, many decided to stay put in the UK to take their holiday.  Thomas Cook didn’t take advantage of that.

Harsh lessons here and it is terribly sad that such a long-standing company is no more.

But whatever the size of your company, the basics are the same for all.

  1. Constantly track the finances.  The essentials are to track money coming in and money going out.  You need to look at ways to make more money and save more money if things are tight.  Don’t stick your head in the sand.
  2. Keep up to date with the changing needs of your customers.  Trends come and go.  Changes happen to your industry.  Economic pressures change consumer spending.  You need to keep on top of this.

P.S.  If you want help to track your finances and to keep up with the changing needs of customers, come join the members club.  Don’t get left behind.