Chief Financial Officer at Advertise Purple – Affiliate Management Agency.

Just when you thought it would be smooth sailing, I unfortunately come to you with a little bit of difficult news. E-commerce has been one of the bright spots during the pandemic period, perhaps along with the stock market, but inflation fears continue, driving down consumer sentiment to a five-month low in July. Essentially, consumer sentiment can dictate how the market performs, GDP projections and what matters most — impact on your company’s bottom line.

While it’s not time to throw the baby out with the bath water, as sentiment is still up considerably compared to last year, at the very least there might be even more uncertainty on the horizon. And I know uncertainty has been the name of the game for the past couple of years, but have no fear.

As a CFO in digital marketing, I believe I can touch on how we at our agency have been able to assist our business-to-consumer clients with their business goals while also managing the finances in-house and keeping our own ship afloat. So, I’d like to provide four ways that a business leader (no matter the size of one’s business) can put their business in a position to thrive despite continued uncertainty and inflation fears. Because, while many brands have enjoyed the e-commerce bump during Covid-19, there is no worse business strategy than resting on one’s laurels.

Let’s dive into those steps I mentioned.

1. Cut unnecessary costs without being “cheap.”

During the pandemic, assuredly many brands have found ways to more efficiently operate. Unfortunately, in an uncertain environment, it might be more difficult to bring in higher revenue numbers.

Have no fear, though. This doesn’t mean you have to cut employee salaries. Rather, invest in smart ways to improve your positioning, especially as it pertains to your balance sheet.

Some would say investing in marketing is foolhardy when times are tough, but I’m here to let you know that that couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course, I’m a bit biased working in digital, but I do know from firsthand experience that digital marketing can bring in new streams of revenue.

You might run a more traditional shop, but the idea here is there are plenty of ways to digitize your brand. Doing so can help you in the long term.

2. Don’t completely change your business philosophy — focus on what makes you, you.

In many ways, one of the most difficult things to change is your perspective. Remember what works for your brand and don’t unnecessarily deviate from that course. It’s better to avoid a reactionary mindset, so try to stay out of that way of thinking. If you sell sneakers, don’t try selling moccasins so to speak.

Understand why you decided to work where you work or start that business that you pour your life and soul into. If you know your “why,” you will more easily be able to figure out your “how,” especially during difficult times.

Again, be proactive rather than reactive.

3. Lean into loyalty.

Always remember: Your most valuable resource besides maybe your employees and those who work for you is your customer. The customer should always be treated with the utmost adoration and respect. And if you’ve got loyal customers, you are better off than a shop only offering deals for new ones. Create consistent streams of revenue from those who absolutely can’t get enough of your product, and you will be more likely to thrive.

However, don’t give up on reaching new leads either. You may have seen the AT&T ad where the company highlights both new and existing customers get their best deals. In my opinion, that’s excellent advertising. (I say that with no business relationship to AT&T, by the way.)

There is no need to alienate your new customers who are showing interest, just because you have users or customers who’ve been around for a while. You should be equally as excited about starting a loyal customer journey with both.

Remember, the trend is just the trend, on a macro level. Focus on your own micro economy, and you’ll have happy patrons.

4. Remember “this too shall pass.”

This one is arguably the most important. Because there’s no worse leader than one in despair or without a vision for how to get out.

After one of the most insane years and a half, where the economy has been consistently inconsistent almost everywhere, remember that your doors are still open and you have a business to operate.

You made it to this point. Of course, there will be more troublesome times and tough decisions, but if I told you that you would be afloat in August 2021 two or three months into the pandemic, you’d be thrilled.

Do yourself a favor and invest in yourself and your team. Don’t fold or change your strategy just because things are down for a little while. Stay up to date with trends, but don’t let those trends keep you up at night.

Do the right thing, and do your thing. Don’t abandon ship; rather, batten down the hatches and keep sailing!

Forbes Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning and wealth management firms. Do I qualify?

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