Growing a business during tough economic times

Inflation, cost-cutting and talk of a potential recession are taking a toll on businesses of all sizes. But is it possible for a business to not just survive, but even grow in these conditions?

Many businesses — across a variety of verticals — have been impacted by recent layoffs. With inflation increasing and the cost of simply doing business rising sharply, there is no question that all types of businesses are affected. In this challenging environment, leaders will be pushed to see how they can not just survive, but thrive. 

Growing a business in an ideal situation can seem like a challenge, but when the economy takes a hit it becomes even more difficult. Business owners are faced with the impossible task of achieving growth as consumers become more cautious about how they spend their money.

While this period is full of challenges and uncertainty, startups and SMEs have a lot of tools at their disposal to help them emerge stronger on the other side.

Investing smartly

Most modern startups rely on the internet to do business and, three years since the start of the pandemic, have adapted smartly to new ways of working. This has greatly helped many startups to be more flexible in response to macro-economic changes.

But the cost of doing business continues to rise. For startups dependent on physical products, the cost of manufacturing, distribution and even storage has seen a sharp uptick. Those with a physical storefront or retail footprint have also seen costs jump dramatically.

In response, startups are having to do much more with much less. Founders and investors alike will still expect momentum, despite tough market conditions.

Investing in marketing remains a smart way to go. While some might find it counterintuitive — with many opting to cut anything deemed “non-essential” to sustain operations — everything should still be geared towards building momentum in order to ensure there is scope to grow.

This does not necessarily have to mean significant investment in expanding teams or launching expensive digital ad campaigns. Instead, it can be about optimising aspects already at your disposal — including harnessing your digital storefront.

Optimising digital presence

For any kind of business, having a digital presence is crucial. This is especially true for startups aiming to compete for eyeballs against larger incumbents. When building an online presence, various elements need to be considered, but a domain name should be near the top of the list.

The domain name is a central part of your online branding. It works just as the sign above the storefront does. It helps establish credibility, build brand awareness and make it easier for customers to find your business online. Choosing the right domain name that connects directly to your business and industry makes your website look more professional and trustworthy.

To ensure maximum impact, startups should consider both sides of “the dot” when it comes to their domain name, and look to “newer” web addresses to stand out. They can connect what they do directly to their website. For example, a tech startup should consider web addresses that clearly represent their industry — i.e. a “.technology” or “.digital”. Conversely, lifestyle brands could opt to add “.life” to better articulate their brand.

Laying the right foundations

The above are great examples of how web addresses can be used to help differentiate a young business and showcase smart investment in marketing and branding to produce results. It is a sign of confidence in your own brand - something that is attractive to both customers and investors alike.

It is important for entrepreneurs before starting their business to lay the right foundations - from identifying a gap in the market to building the solution. As every leader knows, it’s important to do the research and think like your customers to be successful. Invest the time in the discovery process - the brand can follow.  Then and only then, can the focus turn to developing the products and services that customers need.

Once that’s done, the brand can finally focus on that crucial step of choosing the right domain name just before its launch - a name that resonates with customers while distilling the company’s identity and offering in just a few words.

Amid an economic recession, it’s understandable for businesses to be worried as they have to navigate uncertainty and instability. But it is also a time of opportunity, where savvy business leaders can invest smartly and remain laser-focused to achieve significant growth.