Recessions are an inevitable part of the economy, and consumer spending trends have changed in the years since COVID arrived. Through the ups and downs, there are ways to fortify your business to weather the storm of a recession. In this blog post, we detail five key strategies for strengthening your business to ensure it can survive an economic downturn. Though the focus is on those in the decorative lighting industry, these strategies are useful for all entrepreneurs who are running their own business.
Diversify Your Revenue Streams
One of the most important ways to strengthen your business is to diversify your revenue streams. This means that you should not rely on one product or service to generate all of your revenue. Instead, you should offer a variety of products and services that can appeal to different customer needs and market conditions. Many Christmas light installers already know this well. Often, Christmas lights are the off-season source of revenue for landscapers, property detailers, painters, and roofers. If you’re already in the realm of property care, think about ways that you could continue to bolster your offerings and gain new skills. Is there a particular market that is untapped in your community? Event lighting for weddings and celebrations will use your existing skillset, and learning how to use a simple but high-quality landscape lighting system like in-lite will set you up for success with a wider customer base.
Read our blog post 5 Summer Lighting Services to Diversify Your Business for more ideas about what types of lighting services you can offer in the summertime.
Focus on Customer Retention
At the best of times, it can take a lot of work to attract new customers. During a recession, it is important to focus on retaining your existing customers. This can be done through excellent customer service, communication, and loyalty programs like offering your customers a discount for a referral. By keeping your existing customers happy, you can ensure a reliable stream of revenue even during tough times. Additionally, happy customers are more likely to refer new customers to your business. Even if a customer finds that your services are no longer within their budget, a positive customer experience means there are better chances of them telling a friend or neighbour about your work.
Keep Your Expenses Under Control
During a downturn, it is important to keep an eye on your budget. This means that you should avoid unnecessary spending and focus on essential expenses that are critical to your business operations. You may need to make tough decisions, such as reducing marketing spend, re-centralizing your services so that you spend less on transportation, or letting staff go seasonally.
It is important to remember that cutting too much can harm your business in the long run. At Big Star Lights we’ve always had a people-first approach. Our people are what makes everything tick, and it can be difficult to find good staff when you’re hiring seasonally. If you have a good team, cutting staff should be the last option on your list. It is important to strike a balance between keeping expenses under control and investing in your business for future growth, and investing in your team can be one of the best business decisions you can make.
Stay Ahead of the Competition
Keep up with the latest trends in lighting technology and design to stay ahead of your competitors. This can help you attract new customers and retain existing ones by offering cutting-edge lighting solutions that meet their changing needs. For example, the lighting industry is constantly evolving with new technologies emerging all the time. Embracing new technologies and staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the industry and being willing to adopt new technologies can help you offer better products and services.
Focusing on quality and durability is another tip to help you stay ahead of the competition. Customers value quality and durability, especially during tough economic times when they are looking for products that will last. Make sure your products are well-made and built to last, and if you’re considering adding a new product to your arsenal, ensure you’ve tested it properly yourself so that you know you can stand behind it.
Build Strong Relationships with Suppliers
Building strong relationships with your suppliers is essential regardless of how the economy is doing. Having reliable suppliers who offer quality products at competitive prices is critical in ensuring a steady flow of inventory.
At Big Star Lights, we always want to hear which new challenges you may be facing in the industry so that we can help you to prepare for them. We also do our best to be transparent about supply chain and quality issues that come up, and we appreciate having honest conversations with our Pro Installer clientele about these issues.
Your suppliers (including us!) will also be keen to work with you on design ideas, and if you have a good relationship with them you may be selected for testing exciting new products that you can offer your customers. You don’t have to be a face in the crowd of customers - put yourself out there and develop a strong relationship with your suppliers. We’re people too!
To conclude, there have certainly been some changes in spending habits since the lifting of COVID restrictions. This has undoubtedly affected those of us in the decorative lighting industry. Less money has been spent on decorating while families and individuals spend more on travel to see loved ones during the holidays. By diversifying your offerings, spending strategically, focusing on customer satisfaction, and increasing your industry involvement, you can fortify your business to withstand the ups and downs of the changing economy. While recessions may be scary, putting the right strategies in place means your business can not only survive, but thrive.