How to weather the storm of a recession

By Pat Lewis, Source One Consulting
Since day one at Source One Consulting, recession proofing our business has been seen as a core competency to ensure that we are not only sustainable during an economic downturn, but every day.

Published in Norfolk Director Magazine, Spring 2021

Source One Consulting: Sharing Experience

How to weather the storm of a recession 1

Source One Consulting: Sharing Experience

Our initial business plans for the first five years of Source One Consulting were written just after the recession of 2001 where our aim was established: “To create a business of great reputation, known for its great service, that is cash rich and provides its own value in shareholder funds.” A tall order but achievable I thought.

Starting a business in those times was a risk of course, but one I was prepared to take. Thinking how I could stretch my minimal funds (£5K borrowed from a Credit Card- Thanks MBNA!) to do all the things I needed and wanted to do.

Using common sense and advice from trusted friends, together with lots of reading were the keys to help me not only start my business in a recession, but to ensure that it could survive.

They may not work for everyone, some may even be controversial, but:

My eight steps to keep your business running are:

Get your money in!

Great advice from a client who grew his business to be a multi-million operation. Whoever they are, whatever size of business they are, get paid for your service and products. A sale isn’t a sale until its paid for: No cash = no cashflow

Pay yourself the minimum you need

Especially at the start of the business. So important and a lesson and an action that is still undertaken today. Yes, enjoy the fruits of your labour, but do not overextend.

Don’t overstock

Dependant on your business, stock on the shelf could be dead money tied up so manage that process effectively.

Try to work more with your existing client.

Always ask the question, “Is there anymore we can do for you?”

Keep an eye on your competition

Don’t get hung up on what they are doing but be aware!


A favourite Mantra of mine. Back in 2002 free marketing was hard to find. But now with free social media it has never been easier.

Will it make the boat go faster?

Another favourite of mine. Do I really need to spend this money, will it help my business? If the answer is no, my advice is DON’T!

Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity

Do you find yourself asking: “This project has no profit in it, but the turnover is there, shall we do it?” Revert to point 7 and don’t be afraid to walk away from a project or piece of work that potentially has no profit or long-term value to you.

Regardless of the state of the economy and certainly todays COVID-19 world, it is important to prepare your small business to weather any storm. Prudent financial practices not only provide the foundation for a successful business, but they also can give you the assurance that your small business will remain viable in a bear market, as well as a bull market.

Pat Lewis is Founder and Chairman at Source One Consulting and Source One Associates. T: 08456 031 585

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