Five tips to grow your business in a downturn

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Governments are using austerity measures to battle the downturn. Families are tightening their belts. But for businesses there are five simple ways to save costs and grow even during economic turmoil.

They all help you work differently and make the most of flexible working options unleashed by on-the-go technologies. It’s a lot less costly than relying on traditional office space – 38% if which lies empty at any given time, draining resources.

Follow these five tips to reshape your business and grow even in a downturn:

1. Reduce your costs by paying for just what you need

Consider where you want to work – do you need a permanent office? Is a meeting room necessary? If staff is not all in the office at the same time, would hot desking make more sense? 

Don’t forget to shop around for space that is the right size to match your business needs now but also think about the future. If you grow, or the worst happens and you contract, make sure you’re not left paying for expensive empty office space.

2. Get flexible so your business can react to change

With lives busier than ever, staff appreciate help in fitting work around family commitments but it’s also in the business’s interests to be more flexible about how employees work.

Explore today’s many flexible working options such as job shares, homeworking and staggered working hours to reduce stressful commuting, improve morale and boost productivity. 

Give staff alternatives such as the option to work from home occasionally, at a hot desk or from drop-in centres closer to home, so you can react quickly to any change or expand in to other markets fast. Remember to ensure staff aren’t isolated if they work at home by keeping in touch regularly to ensure they’re supported.

3. Take control of unexpected expenses

Technology has changed the way we work forever, making us far more mobile but it also bringing challenges. One of them is keeping track of unexpected bills from coffee shop and hotels, where staff will go if they have no other option to make a call or send an email. 

Look around for options such as all-in-one billing and card schemes where you can predict and oversee what employees are spending, and give them access to quiet places to work while on the road.

4. Extend your reach to new customers

A recession is often said to be a good time for businesses to seize opportunities in other markets but companies can be wary of taking the plunge.

Consider ways of achieving your goal without stretching your budget. To reach new customers, do you need to physically be in their city or country? Investigate call forwarding and mail services that allow you to dip your toes in other markets – including international ones – without spending a fortune.

5. Embrace new technology to boost productivity

It’s easier than ever for people to stay connected thanks to Smartphones, Broadband, Wi-Fi and Tablets PCs, but it’s easy to forget the benefits of face-to-face contact for team briefings and staff and customer meetings.

Ask yourself whether it’s vital that everyone should travel to those meetings in person? Could they still take part, but also save on travel and help the environment through technologies such as teleconferences, webinars and videoconferencing? They’re often more convenient and economical than flights, train and road journeys, and a lot less stressful.

Getting more done for less is the secret to beating a downturn when you’re running a business and so is the ability to adapt. These five simple strategies maximise your productivity at minimal cost, giving your business the tools it needs to beat the downturn.  

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