What leaders should be thinking about to weather the recession and come out ahead

We are watching a recession roll in. It’s everywhere you look — the news, podcasts, your inbox. Experts from JPMorgan to Jerome Powell are predicting it. The upside is that we all know it’s coming. The downside is now we have more time to worry about it. 

Sometimes amidst all this foresight, the opportunity to be proactive can get lost. And yet, this is exactly the time to see the forest for the trees

In the 20 years Clockwork has been in business, we’ve partnered with clients to weather various storms, including financial downturns and recessions. There’s a commonality among the companies that come out the other side stronger and more resilient: preparation.

This is the time to strategically assess your business to find digital opportunities that may buffer you from what we know is coming. Counter your instinct to hunker down and go on a spending freeze. Instead, prepare incremental steps to out-perform your competition by doubling down on digital. 

Preparing your digital ecosystem for competitive advantage

How can we connect with your valued customers and continually add value to their experience? 

The reality is that as much as we blame digitization for taking away from in-person experiences, people want to transact and interact online, especially with businesses. This was among the many lessons we learned from Covid. Your digital relationship with your customers or clients is direct and unmediated. You can continue to build connections and trust by thinking about how your outreach is personalized and authentic. 

How can we optimize operations? 

Any slow time is an opportunity to invest in operational improvements. When you’re going, going, going, no one’s attention is on the systems and processes that are at work. Yet, these are often where and how you can find efficiencies. By examining ways to automate or streamline using digital tools, you free up your staff to use their time and energy for their highest and best uses.

How can you meet them where they are?

Make it easy for people to find your business and patronize your business. Simple ecommerce solutions allow you to be open 24-7 and your customers to do their business when they want. Online purchases have skyrocketed since the start of the Covid pandemic. According to Digital Commerce 360, “In 2020, the coronavirus added $102.08 billion in U.S. ecommerce, and it added $116.45 billion in 2021.” A strong online presence is your front door to more transactions and interactions, and deeper relationships. 

We’re not the only ones who have seen digital investments during downturns pay off. A Harvard Business Review article lists digital transformation as one of four key strategies for thriving after a recession:

Technology can make your business more transparent, more flexible, and more efficient. According to Katy George, a senior partner at McKinsey, the first reason to prioritize digital transformation ahead of or during a downturn is that improved analytics can help management better understand the business, how the recession is affecting it, and where there’s potential for operational improvements. The second reason is that digital technology can help cut costs.

Walter Frick, Harvard Business Review

Being smart about your spending and investments now may set you up to get ahead of your competition later. Thoughtful digital plans can future-ready your organization.