Skip to main content

How to grow your business (in a recession)

1st February 2023

Information Icon

Everything we publish on Business Talk is provided as general information only. It isn’t advice or an insight into the views of TSB or any of our Partners. This is for information only and should not be relied upon as offering advice for any set of circumstances.

Please think about getting independent financial advice if you want help with your personal situation.

While we make every effort to make sure the content is accurate and up to date, no liability is accepted by TSB Bank for any loss or damage caused by relying on any statement or omission.

Links to external content are provided for information purposes only and not a TSB recommendation of any brand or service.

How to grow your business (in a recession)
By Adeel Hyder, Business Banking Director at TSB

I know from speaking to our customers that the last few years have been tough for small businesses, and we can’t ignore the fact that there are more challenges coming down the line.

But I also know from the conversations I have every day, that people who have the drive and entrepreneurial spirit to run a small business also have the qualities needed to weather a storm.

And that doesn’t mean just digging in and surviving – it can also mean growing and emerging from this difficult period stronger. It is often small businesses that lead the way out of recession – their close customer relationships mean they are well-placed to anticipate change, and their size makes them more agile and adaptable.

That upbeat spirit is at the heart of a landmark new report from Small Business Britain, which all of us in TSB Business Banking are delighted to support. “How to grow (in a recession)” is packed with insight, and real tangible steps that businesses can take, and is well worth reading in full.

But if you are short on time – and let’s face it, time is always at a premium when you are running your own business – here are some of my top takeaways from the report.I hope you feel as optimistic and inspired by them as I do.

Be positive

You know your business better than anyone, so don’t be distracted by gloomy headlines about slowdowns and recession if they don’t affect you.

But that doesn’t mean sticking your head in the sand. Be aware of any early indicators of problems, such as new orders slowing down, or existing customers spending less, so you can make a positive plan to address them.

Embrace opportunity

Always be on the lookout for new opportunities, and don’t wait for the perfect time to try something new – it may never come.

Don’t be afraid to fail but start small and practise ‘failing fast’ – if something doesn’t work, then accept it and move on. Your next idea could be the one that makes a difference.

Get organised

A missing payment or disputed invoice is a challenge even when business is booming – in difficult times, it can be what stops you growing.

Make sure you agree terms and processes with customers in advance, and that you are ready to fulfil your side of the agreement.

Have clear communication at every stage – including when you expect to be paid – to avoid any misunderstandings.

And let technology do the legwork – digital accounting tools can track and chase invoices for you.

Change with the times

If your customers’ behaviour is changing, then think about how you can adapt to their needs.

Can you add new revenue streams, either by providing a new product or service, or finding a new place to sell your existing ones? New markets may be on different platforms you may not have considered before, such as social media.

Are your prices right? That doesn’t necessarily mean charging less – in a recession, people may think more carefully about what they spend, which could mean opportunities for more premium products and services.

Go global

For some small businesses, international opportunities may seem limited, but even local firms can tap into overseas markets

You can sell globally on platforms such as Amazon and eBay, and even offer professional services around the world on LinkedIn – especially in today’s hybrid and home-working environment.

Ask other businesses in your network about their experiences, and see what advice and support is on offer from the Department for Business and Trade and other agencies.


Technology has transformed the way we do business, so make sure your firm is up to speed with the latest developments. It doesn’t have to cost anything – for example, there is free digital skills training and support from BT Skills for Tomorrow or Digital Boost.

Little changes can make a big difference, and help you feel more positive too.

Click here to read the report in full
And for more information about TSB Business Banking, visit