In today's uncertain environment, it’s critical that business leaders prepare for a wide variety of risks—both economic (including inflation, recession, and capital costs) as well as geopolitical (including trade tensions, sanctions, and war). Many business models could be in a precarious position. But Bain research also shows that companies make more dramatic gains during downturns than during stable periods.
Leading companies will take a page from the playbook of previous recession winners. They will avoid three common pitfalls—namely, aggressively cutting costs, straying from the company’s core in a desperate bid for growth, and taking a reactive approach.
Instead, winners of past recessions surgically restructured costs early on, without cutting muscle. They put their financial house in order, diligently managing liquidity and the balance sheet. Perhaps most important, winners also invested throughout the downturn, selectively doubling down on competitive outperformance and proactively pursuing M&A opportunities.