Planning for a financial crisis isn’t one of the first things that come to mind when someone starts their own business, but at various times over the past few years, it has been something that millions of business owners wish they had spent more time thinking about.

Most people who struggle through a financial crisis will tell you that they never saw it coming, so with that in mind, the best way to be sure that you are preparing your business to survive the next one is to always be ready for the unexpected.

In order to help you do exactly that, here are five key steps to help you protect your business from the next great financial crises, which could be right around the corner no matter when you happen to be reading this.

Have Plenty of Savings

It almost goes without saying that having plenty of savings in the bank is the best thing to help any business survive a financial crisis. But, of course, talking about saving money and actually doing it are two very different things.

No matter where your business is sitting today, it will eventually have to endure difficult times in one form or another. Make a point to start strategically socking money away to prepare yourself for those eventual rainy days.

Cut Expenses Ruthlessly

When a financial crisis does eventually show up at your doorstep, the best way to minimize the amount of damage it can do to your business is to immediately start cutting your company’s expenses as ruthlessly as you possibly can.

While this is actually a good business practice during profitable times, ridding yourself of unnecessary expenses can be the difference between surviving the difficult times or watching all of your hard work disappear right before your eyes.

Apply for Every Type of Aid Available

Economic stimulus packages have played a key role in the recovery during difficult times recently, and that is likely to continue as the government’s approach moving forward.

With that in mind, making sure that you are quick to act in getting yourself signed up for any and all types of benefits that the government makes available is another key component of getting through a financial crisis.

Whether or not you think you will need assistance, apply for absolutely everything you might qualify for, and you will be surprised how many options are out there to help you.

Use Down Time to Improve

If a financial crisis forces your business to temporarily close its doors, make sure that you use that time to focus on ways that you can improve both yourself and the business.

Rather than spending your free time binging an old TV show, dive into a few good books or sign up for an online course. Those will pay much higher dividends when you are able to get back to work.

Position Yourself for the Recovery

One thing that we do know about a financial crisis is that there is always a recovery. While you might not know when that recovery is coming or what it might look like, it is always a solid bet that it will come at some point.

By following the first four recommendations, you will naturally be positioning your business to work through the coming recovery from a place of strength, which could create opportunities for you as a leader in your market when the economy eventually bounces back.

No one likes to imagine the worst-case scenarios that could happen during a financial crisis, but we are almost certainly going to find ourselves encountering more and more events like this moving forward. Make sure that your business is prepared for the worst and you will be positioning yourself to come out of any situation as one of the strongest leaders in your industry.