How To Survive The Coming Recession: “Now Is The Time To Start Developing Your Skillset”

March 16, 2020  |  

My City 4 Ways Atlanta

Source: Nigel Degraff / @nigeldpresents

When we interviewed Reinvention Strategist Marshawn Evans Daniels at Ford’s My City 4 Ways event in Atlanta this past November, she told us in no uncertain terms: “A recession is coming and most of us look good online but we’re not prepared for what’s coming offline.”

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the words of the business coach, whose clients include the Ford Motor Company as well as many small, women-owned businesses, have come back to haunt us all. With businesses, big and small, shutting down to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, there’s no denying the current state of affairs will have long-lasting financial impacts. And for those running their own operations, now is the time to get clear about your company’s mission and position in the marketplace.

“Every business has to have solid messaging,” Evans Daniels stated. “A lot of people are multi-passionate and trying to squeeze multiple things into one business endeavor that maybe could be multiple businesses. If you can have one successful business you can have multiple. So the first thing is to really focus on your messaging, then focus your attention.”

According to MarketWatch, “Consumer-facing companies such as the hospitality and retail industries will be the first hit if the novel coronavirus spreads across the U.S.,” so if one of your ideas centers around those sectors, now wouldn’t be a great time to take that leap. Conversely, if your business is related to manufacturing solutions or healthcare jobs, which have been “recession-proof” for the past 10-20 years, as Elise Gould, an economist from the Economic Policy Institute, said, you’re in a good position, despite the economic downturn.

But what if your business is being you? For the past few years there have been murmurings of a pending influencer bubble, with some questioning last year whether it had finally burst. Whether that’s true or not, a recession generally isn’t going to be kind to those who make their money as social media personalities. “Very few influencers can pay their bills by influencing,” Evans Daniels said, echoing her previous sentiment that “likes are not checks.” Instead, she said, “It’s better to shift from influencing to focusing on being an expert.”

One way to transition from influencer to expert might be to become a consultant. “Focus on getting client acquisition, not just being a popular brand,” she advised. With a recession, advertisers will certainly be looking for ways to entice those who have discretionary income to spend it, and that’s a huge opportunity for experts who’ve amassed large followings via their digital content to stand out. As Evans Daniels added, “People who get great results, who are clear with their message, who are focused on the core value proposition of what they provide will be the ones that are most in demand.”

Though it may sound improbable, it’s actually possible to experience growth during a recession, which is what Evans Daniels did with her coaching business, ME Unlimited. “Our business grew to become a seven-figure company in the middle of the last recession. So for those who are excellent at what they do, recessions are great. It’s a little bit harder for retail businesses, but even with those, this is where value proposition, distinguished messaging, and what differentiates you from others becomes really important.”

With so much uncertainty surrounding the global economy, figuring out which moves to make can be overwhelming. No matter what industry your business is a part of, know that all is not doomed, particularly if you take advantage of the opportunity to expand on your success in a smart way. Even employees who are nervous about potential layoffs down the line can find comfort in Evans Daniels’ final piece of advice.

“There will always be a market for great talent and being good at what you do — better yet, great at what you do. Now is the time to start developing your skill set.”


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