Like most entrepreneurial people, I’m a relentless optimist.
I’m also a devout Stoic and, when faced with adversity, consciously remind myself that in every challenging situation lies an opportunity for growth – even if it doesn’t always feel like it at the time.
So despite the growing evidence that the global economy is in sharp decline and will potentially enter into recession, I find myself feeling quietly confident that Clarity will take this opportunity to become an even stronger, bigger and healthier business than we are today.
This isn’t just blind optimism speaking, it’s based on recent personal experience (our handling of the Covid downturn), backed by plenty of research into how best to successfully navigate an economic downturn, and underpinned by trends and economic realities that give us real grounds for confidence.
The most comprehensive data I’ve seen is a Harvard Business Review (HBR) year-long study on 4,700 companies’ handling of three global recessions in which the findings were clear: ‘postrecession winners’…
- “cut costs mainly by improving operational efficiency rather than by slashing the number of employees”
- “develop new business opportunities by making significantly greater investments than their rivals do in R&D and marketing”
- “invest in assets”
Our approach at Clarity will broadly follow this playbook. The TL;DR is we’ll keep doing what we’re doing – delivering an exceptional experience to our clients and our people.
In terms of specifics we will:
- continue to hire great talent and take advantage of a more open talent market
- acquire businesses that expand our range of products and services, and give us access to new geographic markets and client verticals
- invest in R&D and drive innovation across the group
Don’t get me wrong: recessions are devastating – for individuals and for society. So we will also continue doing our bit to give back, and push harder on areas where Clarity can make a difference. Investing $1m of our resources directly into supporting minority-owned businesses and via the Diversity Marketing Consortium. Pushing to reach B Corp status in 2023. Empowering our people to support their communities with volunteer days and donation matching. Continuing to expand our benefits to meet our people where they are at every stage of life. Working hard to ensure inclusivity and equality for every Clarity team member. We’re not going to retrench: we’re going to fight, on every front.
Our ability to execute against this strategy is fuelled by our confidence that our clients are some of the most forward-thinking and progressive companies on earth.
Many will no doubt adopt a similarly proactive posture: while their competitors pull back, our clients will view the recession as an opportunity to double-down on marketing and, with our support, emerge as dominant players in their respective markets.
Our strategy is also borne from a conviction that the VC industry has merely taken an extended summer break, and will soon roar back to life – surely an inevitability given the record-levels of ‘dry powder’ circulating the ecosystem.
I wish we could break the boom and bust cycle, and avoid putting millions through anguish and hardship. If we can’t change that, we can certainly make sure we do our bit as a business – secure jobs, invest in ground-breaking technologies, and bring genuinely positive businesses to the fore – as well as supporting our communities at a grassroots level.
We will draw on our company values – Global, Fearless, Positive – and lean into it. There’s no other option.
To borrow Ryan Holiday’s paraphrasing of Marcus Aurelius, the father of Stoicism: ‘The Obstacle is the Way’. Bring on the obstacle.