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Weather the Storm

Updated: Jul 18, 2019

One thing is certain: markets change. In an ever-changing economy, developing resiliency is vital.

Resiliency is the capacity to recover from difficulties quickly and effectively. Resiliency is

toughness and grit; the ability to bounce back when times get rough, and to thrive in spite of strenuous circumstances. In a world that is rapidly changing, building a resilient business is crucial. These five steps will help your business flourish — no matter what happens.

Step 1: Look ahead for emerging threats.

As part of our growth strategy work, a client realized that a historically small competitive threat was now actively taking away customers. With the threat now clearly in sight, they are developing new offensive and defensive responses to protect their customers and rebuild market share.

Looking ahead gives you an edge over competitors who don’t. It’s easier to bounce back from rough times – or to avoid trouble in the first place – if you spot what’s coming. Take note of the current political, economic, social, and technological dynamics that are shaping your tomorrow, and act now to effectively position your business for the future marketplace.

Step 2: Strategize earnestly and with commitment.

Businesses with clear and solid growth strategies will, on average, do better than those that don’t. In our ever-shifting economy, staying up-to-date on your company’s strategic direction is a great way to stay ahead of the vagaries of the market.

Step 3: Sync up with your customers.

Knowing what your customers are thinking and experiencing is one of the best ways to stay ahead of change and to build business resiliency. Talk to your customers to understand what drives them to buy, what improvements could be made, and why they prefer you over other competitors. Knowledge of your business’s unique strengths and weaknesses from your customers’ perspective will allow you to develop both the customer loyalty and effective growth strategies that are crucial in times of hardship.

Step 4: Be vigilant and proactive.

One of our clients – a CEO of a local manufacturing company – started getting fewer orders from a key customer. As the CEO was concerned, he talked with the customer and discovered that their business was down and that workers were being laid off. The CEO then assured the customer that he’d be there for them in this difficult time — thus building customer loyalty — and simultaneously took steps to strategically reduce his exposure.

Business resiliency is, in many ways, a mindset. Stay alert, be wary, and be prepared to act sooner rather than later.

Step 5: Build your offense, now.

Ironically enough, economic downturns can actually provide opportunities for growth. In the article, “Smart Moves to Make Now Ahead of a Recession,” Tom Holland and Jeff Katzen of Bain Consulting explain this insight:

“Think of a recession as a sharp curve on an auto race course. It’s the best place to pass competitors but requires more skill than driving on a straightaway.

The best drivers brake just ahead of the curve (they take out excess costs), turn hard toward the apex of the curve (identify the short list of projects that will form the next business model), and accelerate hard out of the curve (spend and hire before markets have rebounded).”


What are you doing to thrive in the next downturn? Take the Shepherd Advisors free B2B growth assessment and uncover areas where you'll want to build business resiliency - before you need it.


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