These 4 business leaders survived the 2008 financial crisis. Be flexible and ‘cut deep’ is their advice for getting through the looming recession.


A recession is predicted for 2023.Virojt Changyencham / Getty Images

  • Businesses are preparing for a likely recession in 2023.

  • Insider spoke with four business leaders who lived through the last great recession between 2007 and 2009.

  • They share the struggles they faced during the recession and tips for getting through the tough times.

Executives, investors, and analysts have warned that an economic recession could be around the corner, meaning many businesses will struggle financially in the coming year.

For some companies, this is not the first financial crisis they have experienced. The Great Recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, was one of the worst economic crises in history, causing high unemployment rates and falling household incomes.

Insider spoke to a range of businesses about the challenges they faced during this recession and what they would recommend to other companies struggling with financial struggles.

“Don’t get stuck in your way”

The owner of the chocolate cellar, Bala Croman

Bala Croman, owner of The Chocolate Cellar.Bala Croman

Balla Croman opened the Chocolate Cellar in 2005 in Liverpool, northern England. When the economic downturn hit his business in 2008, he said he was still very new to the business and was “often anxious” to overcome the challenges.

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“It was really difficult to get our wholesale and corporate customers to pay us in good time,” Croman told Insider. “But the suppliers pushed us for early payment because they were all really nervous because of the companies that went into liquidation at the time.”

Croman said he had to lay off some employees and temporarily abandon the physical store to reduce overhead costs.

During that time, Croman promoted The Chocolate Cellar at farmers markets, food festivals, and pop-up stalls at other events. He also asked the company’s bank, suppliers, and owners for flexibility.

Croman’s tip for businesses facing a likely recession was: “Don’t get stuck in your ways.”

He said it is important for companies to be flexible and prepare to change the way they work. Businesses should focus on what is profitable and “let go of things that don’t serve you better.”

“Cut the money the first time”

Amy Spurling

Amy Spurling, former CFO of EXOSAmy Spurling

From 2008 to 2014, Amy Spurling was the chief financial officer for Arizona-headquartered health and wellness company EXOS Athletes Performance.

Spurling told Insider that when the recession hit EXOS in 2008, some big deals with customers failed to go through and the company made “horribly painful” cutbacks.

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“I’m always worried about how to strike the right balance between building a path forward for the company, managing cash as well as possible, and supporting our team,” Spurling said. “It felt like an impossible needle.” for wire.”

Spurling said EXOS got through the recession by carefully managing cash after a hire and exploring different markets and products.

He recommended companies should “cut deep the first time” with layoffs because always letting employees go means employees “live in constant fear and fear.”

Spurling also had a piece of advice for business leaders: “Take time for yourself.”

“When you are in such an incredibly stressful time, with so much pressure on you, it feels impossible to come up with time. It is important for leaders to sleep, eat, and exercise while this is happening so that they can make better decisions. , ” Spurling said.


Daniel Wheble

Daniel Wheble, CEO of Boutique Workplace Company.Daniel Wheble

Daniel Wheble chose to start a new business in the Great Recession. In 2009, he launched a UK property management company called Ventia.

“You question whether it’s the right time or the wrong time to start a business,” Wheble told Insider. But by helping landlords and tenants lower costs in a depressed housing market, he said Ventia discovered a gap in the property market that he described as “risk-free.” He sold the business in 2015 to Boutique Workplace Company, and became its CEO.

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Despite previous experience in the industry, Wheble said he still had concerns about paying employees and keeping Ventia afloat.

He said his advice to business owners would be to “stop, take stock, and reevaluate.”

“What you think you know is probably going to change,” according to Wheble. “We’re in for a bumpy ride over the next couple of years, there’s no doubt about that.”

“Communicate and be honest”

Mike Butler

Mike Butler, former CEO of Radius Bank.Mike Butler

Mike Butler was president and CEO of Radius Bank when the Great Recession hit. He said the impact of the recession, such as the struggling mortgage market, triggered negative perceptions of banks, but he tried to remain optimistic.

Radius Bank took some hits, learned from mistakes, changed some practices, and came out the other side, Butler said. There was doubt, but he reminded himself there would be better days.

“Leading during good times is easy – not so much when the world appears to be collapsing. You need to communicate. You must be honest. Gather people,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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