Growing During Recession – How To Win Your Competitors’ Customers

The expansionary mindset that’s required to grow in a downturn means you must endeavor to grow your customer base and given that the total number of customers in the market is unlikely to be expanding, you’ll need to get focused on how to win your competitors’ customers.


Here are some tips on how to win your competitors’ customers:

Spend some time learning about the customers of your competition. Do some proper investigation work.

You may wish to consider starting with the clients of your weakest competitors. They will be the least well equipped to fight you off.

Keep in view the fact that your competitors will probably be working very hard in an economic downturn to hang on to their best clients and customers. Their best customers may not, therefore, be worth trying to lure. It may take too much effort and not necessarily result in a positive outcome. However, your competitors are unlikely to be putting as much time and effort into the next tier of customers. It makes sense, then, to focus on customers in this second tier – especially those with stronger balance sheets and good growth prospects.

Spend some time researching the product or service that your competitors provide. See what you could do to innovate to do things differently or better. Offer something that your competitors do not. See our article entitled Stepping Up Innovation.

Find out what your competitors customers like and don’t like about your competitors. You can do a survey to establish this. Then keep the results in view when Stepping Up Innovation.

Don’t make the mistake of cutting back on your marketing budget or (worse) eliminating it completely. Do the opposite. Invest in marketing. During a downturn, customers become uneasy and restless and look to make changes to their purchasing decisions. Step up marketing to help them find your product or service.

Finally, if you manage to attract more of the right customers during a downturn, when the upswing comes, your market share will be bigger and will expand more rapidly. Loyal customers who are pleased with what you do will refer you. During recession you should build the foundations for the growth that will result during the inevitable upswing.


If you’d like to grow in the face of economic uncertainty, start focusing now on how you can win your competition’s customers. You can start this RIGHT AWAY and it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. It’s more about focus and effort.

Until the next time.  . . . .


Written 18.05.2020 by

Antony Holdsworth BSc (Hons) FCMA CGMA

Owner of

E. H. Taylors

Antony J. Holdsworth & Co

Clarence Trustees LLP


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