Recession? What is it good for?

Those of you who are children of the 80s may recognize the Frankie Goes to Hollywood “reference” in the title of this Blog. Yes, I’ve stolen it from “War”. But the “absolutely nothing say it again” answer given in the song is not the same answer to the title of this Blog.

Many economists and business analysts are weighing in on what a Canadian Recession means for Canadian Business in general. In my opinion, those who generalize about a recession are not being accurate: there are businesses who thrive in a Recession. Those who don’t thrive can use the recession as an opportunity to fine tune their business to get through to the other side.

A recession is a good time to take a hard look at your employees. Has someone been slacking off, rubbing people the wrong way or refusing to perform their job properly? This is the time to let them go and, of course, blame it on the recession. Letting an employee go for “financial reasons” , provided you do so in accordance with the Employment Standards Act and with legal guidance to avoid law suits, is easier during a recession.

A recession is also a good time to clamp down on receivables. Have you been letting a “good customer” extend their payment terms? Using the recession, and claim of “bank pressure to tighten up receivables” is a great way to get money in without seeming like the “bad guy”. Blame it on the bank and the recession: you might feel more comfortable asking for money that way and your customer will be understanding as well.

So, sing it with me now: “Recession. Huh. What is it good for? Adjusting your business practices, say it again!” Good thing I’m a lawyer and not a song writer – right?

Inga B. Andriessen JD