Don’t lead with fear.
Keep a positive mindset. Recessions happen — but they always end eventually. In my experience, they’re an opportunity to lean into your values, and to build real relationships with your clients and community — not just transactional ones.
2. Get clear on your core values.
When times get tough, seize the opportunity to clarify and recommit to what matters most. The businesses that prioritize doing the right thing and leading from their values tend to be the last ones standing when the recession ends — and trust me, it will eventually end.
3. Be nimble.
Continue creating new value for your clients and stay relevant in the current moment. Don’t rely too heavily on any one client or type of business. And don’t make long-term decisions based on short-term circumstances.
4. Continue to invest.
You need to stay visible and connected. Double-down on marketing and relationship-building. And continue to invest in your employees — emotionally and financially. They’re looking to you for reassurance. [Gary’s addition: When I joined Burroughs Corporation in the mid-70s, I noticed a really sharp group of mid-level managers. During a recession in the 1960s, Burroughs heavily recruited at top universities while most other companies were cutting back on hiring. Those mid-level managers were responsible for much of the company’s success in the 1970s].
I’ve survived 6 recessions so far, through creativity, adaptability, and honoring what’s at the foundation of our business: relationships. We don’t know what’s coming, but we’ll face whatever comes by nurturing relationships, adapting, creating new value for our clients, and staying visible and connected in our community.