5 Keys To Surviving Those Looming Economic Headwinds

  • by , Featured Contributor, November 3, 2022

Yesterday, the Federal Reserve Board approved a fourth consecutive hike of its interest rate by three-quarters of a point, which signals that general consumer inflation is likely to be with us for a while, certainly deep into next year. Taken together with the intense pressures on energy markets from the Russian war in Ukraine, we all need to be prepared for some tough sledding ahead.

I’ve run technology businesses in the advertising industry for almost 28 years, so I feel like I have seen this movie before. I suspect that we’re going to face something along the lines of the impact from the dot-com bubble bursting in 2001 and the significant slowdown from 9/11 in 2001.

Advertising is very sensitive to inflation and dramatically slows down with recession. Money spent to acquire new customers tends to be the first money cut when things are tough, and the last added back when things get better.

In 2000 and 2001, I watched literally thousands of companies go out of business. I don’t expect this to be the same, but everyone needs to understand that we’ve been living off a 14-year bull market run, with interest rates so low that the cost of capital to companies was almost zero.



That’s all over. Here's some unsolicited advice to companies for surviving the hard period to come:

Conserve cash. Cash is king. Get it. Keep it. Be super-careful in spending it. Time will only make cash harder to get.

Replan and rebudget. Assumptions made last year and earlier this year -- particularly about sales, pricing and revenue -- are now wrong for sure. Waste no time redoing and stress-testing those plans and assumptions like you never have before.

Strategize recession opportunities.  With economic hardship can come opportunity. Find places to win when others are going to lose. Many companies can grow share in tough times. Make sure you’re one of those companies.

Focus on talent. The available talent pool is going to expand significantly. If you are growing, this is your chance to bring in new talent and raise the bar for your entire team. Tough economic times create uncertainty and anxiety for everyone. Make sure your stars know that they're stars.

Get started yesterday. I’ve seen enough of these moments to know this one hasn’t really started yet for most in the world of media or ad tech. Yes, I know we’re already seeing tough earnings reports, weak guidance, hiring freezes and muti-thousand layoffs among companies in our sector. It will get worse before it gets better. Don't dawdle.

This part of business is rarely fun, but it’s a time when you can make a real difference. Don’t waste a crisis.

1 comment about "5 Keys To Surviving Those Looming Economic Headwinds".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, November 4, 2022 at 7:06 p.m.

    A very sage post Dave.

    Re your comment that "we’ve been living off a 14-year bull market run, with interest rates so low that the cost of capital to companies was almost zero." reflects part of the reason why the US is in a recession.

    During those 14 years consumers and the everyday workers did not get a commensurate share of the benefits of the bull market run.   The result is that having only achieved moderate savings means that they have to very quickly tighten their belt in order to get through this rough period.   We have a similar issue here in AU but it appears to be not as impactful as the US.

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