Blog | 08 May 2024

How to Recession-Proof Your Business

By Frank Bilotta, Tax Partner | Advisory

Safeguarding Your Business in Uncertain Times

Is Canada heading into a recession? Well, not exactly—at least not just yet.

The economic landscape is always shifting, and businesses need to keep their finger on the pulse of the latest trends and forecasts. Staying ahead of the game and making smart moves in this ever-changing landscape is a must! Recent reports suggest that Canada dodged a technical recession, but the economic challenges faced by business owners and individuals are still concerning. Let’s dive into what’s going on with the economy and explore how it might impact your business.

The latest Statistics Canada GDP report shows that while some sectors are growing, others are facing challenges. Industries like finance and real estate remained stable, but there was a slight decline in sectors such as healthcare and social assistance. This information is crucial for businesses looking to stay ahead in today’s economic landscape, as it helps you make informed decisions, anticipate market shifts, and adjust strategies to maintain resilience and competitiveness.

So, while the country as a whole managed to avoid a recession in the 4th quarter of 2023, per-person output—meaning the amount of economic output or production per individual—continues to decline, reaching levels comparable to those of 2016. The slow growth rate has a few reasons behind it, like the delayed impact of earlier interest rate hikes and a population boom outpacing Canada’s economic growth.

Another noteworthy trend is that compared to other countries, Canada’s economy isn’t performing as well. Europe’s stagnant output and the economic declines in the United Kingdom highlight challenges on a global scale. On the brighter side, the U.S. economy continues to stand strong, which is good news for Canadian exports. This global context underscores the importance of understanding these economic nuances for businesses looking to navigate the evolving landscape effectively.

Tips to Help Recession-Proof Your Business

Most business owners are currently dealing with stark economic realities like market shifts and competition—trust us, you’re not alone. That’s why it’s important to zero in on key strategies to manage risks and make the most of available opportunities. Here are our top 4 effective strategy recommendations to help recession-proof your business:

  1. Diversifying Ownership: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Explore ways to expand your business’s ownership structure so you’re not overly reliant on just a few revenue sources. One smart move could be involving more family members in your business or thinking about succession planning. Introducing new family members into the ownership of a business or transferring ownership shares during a recession can shift future growth to family members who can benefit from tax exemptions.
  2. Monitor Cash Flow: Keep a close eye on your cash flow, especially when times get tough. Delays in payments or changes in payment terms can hit your liquidity hard. Look for smart ways to extract cash in a tax-efficient manner, like investing in discounted properties or investments.
  3. Review Costs: Take a good look at your fixed and variable costs regularly. Find those essential expenses and see where you can tighten the belt if needed. To do this, you may want to consider restructuring your cost setup to be more flexible.
    • For example, hiring part-time or contractual employees instead of full-time helps conserve cash and positions your business to capitalize on investment opportunities during favourable market conditions.
    • Embracing digital tools can also help streamline processes and cut costs. Social media is your friend for cost-effective marketing, while remote work options can cut real estate expenses and enhance overall productivity.
  4. Preserve Cash Reserves: Building and maintaining cash reserves act as a safety net when things get rocky. When you keep cash reserves, you’re setting aside funds specifically for unexpected expenses or emergencies. This is important because it ensures that you have immediate access to cash when you need it the most. By focusing on preserving your cash reserves, you’re setting yourself up for financial stability and resilience in the long run.

Diversifying ownership, keeping an eye on cash flow, watching those costs, and holding onto cash reserves are smart moves for any business, any time. So, while they’re especially helpful during economic ups and downs and a possible recession, it’s a good idea to start building that resilience ASAP!

As your outsourced accounting, tax and business advisory department, we’re here to help you recession-proof your business and keep it thriving no matter what’s going on in the economy. Whether it’s managing cash flow like a pro, finding new growth opportunities, or putting in place strategies to weather any storm, we’ve got you! Ready to protect your business for the long haul? Give us a call at 416-646-0550 or request a consultation, and let’s craft a financial plan that’s perfect for your unique business needs.

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