A recession can be a scary time for small businesses. Sales go down, customers disappear, and people get nervous.  It can be difficult to keep your head above water. However, with a little preparation, you can survive the recession and come out stronger.

What Is a Recession?

It’s important to understand what a recession is. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. This means that the economy is shrinking, and businesses are losing money. During a recession, people may lose their jobs, and they may have less money to spend. This can lead to lower sales for businesses, making it difficult to stay afloat.

4 Recession Effects on Small Businesses

While the effects of a recession will vary from business to business, there are some common effects that small businesses may experience.

Effect #1: Decreased Sales

One of the most common effects of a recession is decreased sales. During this time, it’s important to keep a close eye on your budget and find ways to cut costs where you can. You may also want to consider diversifying your products and services to appeal to a wider range of customers.

Effect #2: Increased Competition

Another common effect of a recession is increased competition. As businesses struggle and fail, new businesses will pop up to fill the void. This can make it difficult to stay afloat, as you’ll have to work harder to stand out from the crowd.

To combat this, it’s important to focus on your unique selling points and make sure you’re marketing your business effectively. You may also want to consider lowering your prices to attract more customers or running special promotions.

Effect #3: Credit Issues

During a recession, it can be difficult to get credit from lenders. This is because they’re worried about being repaid (rightly so).  They may also be experiencing more constraints on their available funds.  This can make it difficult to finance your business, buy inventory, or make other necessary purchases.

If you’re having trouble getting credit, you may need to look for alternative financing options, such as grants or loans from friends and family. You can also try negotiating with vendors to extend payment terms or get discounts.

What Small Businesses Can Do to Prepare for a Recession

Now that you know about a few of the most common effects of a recession, it’s time to talk about preparing for one. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your business:

Create an Emergency Fund

Whether a recession is predicted or not, it’s always a good idea to have an emergency fund for your business. This will give you a cushion to fall back on if times get tough. It can help you avoid going into debt.

Ideally, you should aim to have enough money saved to cover three to six months of expenses. If a recession hits, you may need to dip into this fund to cover things like payroll, rent, and utilities.

Build Up Your Credit

Another good way to prepare for a recession is to build up your credit. This will give you more options if you need financing during tough times. You can do this by taking out a small loan and making all of your payments on time, or by using a business credit card for your everyday expenses.

You should also make sure you’re paying off any existing debt, as this will help improve your credit score.

Diversify Your Income Streams

If you want to protect your business during a recession, it’s important to diversify your income streams. This means having multiple sources of revenue so that if one dries up, you’re not left high and dry.

For example, if you’re a retailer, you might diversify by selling products online as well as in-store. If you’re a freelance writer, you might look for work with multiple clients in different industries.

By diversifying your income streams, you’ll be better prepared to weather a recession (or any other type of setback).

Plan for the Worst

No one likes to think about worst-case scenarios, but when it comes to business, it’s always best to be prepared. If a recession does hit, it’s important to have a plan in place so that you can keep your business afloat.

Your plan should include things like reducing expenses, renegotiating loans and leases, finding alternative sources of financing or laying off staff. By having a plan in place, you’ll be better prepared to weather any storm.


A recession can be a difficult time for small businesses, but with a little preparation, you can survive. By understanding the effects of a recession and taking steps to protect your business, you can weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.