CPI - acronym from wooden blocks with letters, abbreviation CPI Consumer price index concept, random letters around, money background, consumer price index

Consumer Price Index (CPI): 6 Economic Indicators Small Businesses NEED to Watch, Part 3

Hello small business owner! 

It’s time to discuss the third economic indicator you NEED to be vigilant about in a fluctuating economy like ours. 

Building upon our exploration of unemployment rates and GDP growth in previous installments, today we turn our attention to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) – a vital gauge of inflationary pressures and consumer spending habits. 

Because while you unfortunately can’t outrun inflation, that won’t stop us from trying to stay one step ahead and prepare for it.


 3. Consumer Price Index (CPI)

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the average price paid by consumers for a set of goods and services that represent regular expenses, like groceries or gas. 

It is a KEY indicator of inflation, reflecting how price levels change over time from the everyday consumer’s perspective. Inflation erodes purchasing power, leading to changes in consumer behavior that will affect your pricing strategies and cost structure, for better or worse. 

Rising CPI signals that the cost of living is increasing, so consumers may focus their spending only on essentials and cut back on non-essential goods and services – which might mean trouble for your small business, depending on what you offer. 

So, here’s your plan for a strategic response to fluctuating CPI: 


Pricing Strategy Review:

Regularly review your pricing strategy in relation to CPI changes to ensure that your pricing remains competitive and covers rising costs – without deterring customers.

It’ll be a delicate balance between adjusting your pricing to maintain market relevance while still covering rising expenses, but it’ll be worth it. 


Cost Monitoring:

Keep a close eye on your cost structure and watch your expenses.

Rising CPI often correlates with increased input costs, such as raw materials, labor, and operating expenses.

Identify areas where cost-saving measures can be implemented without compromising product quality or customer satisfaction.

By proactively managing costs and identifying opportunities for efficiency gains, you can mitigate the impact of inflation on your bottom line. 


Consumer Insights:

Stay attuned to shifts in consumer behavior driven by fluctuating CPI and adapt your offerings or marketing strategies accordingly.

Engage with your customer base through surveys, focus groups, and social media channels to gather feedback and insights into evolving spending habits.

Consider introducing new products or services that address emerging consumer demands, or adjusting your marketing messaging to emphasize value propositions that resonate with cost-conscious consumers. 


Budget Flexibility:

Get your emergency fund in place!

This fund is the difference between making it through the low-cash months and being forced to close your doors.

Prioritize building a reserve fund that covers ideally 6 months’ worth of essential expenses.

Alternatively, explore financing options such as lines of credit, business loans, or invoice financing to bolster your liquidity and provide additional financial flexibility.


The Consumer Price Index plays a pivotal role in shaping economic conditions and consumer spending behavior, exerting a direct influence on your small business. 

It’s important to conduct scenario planning exercises to anticipate and prepare for these potential CPI-related risks and opportunities. 

Don’t just read the above and save the information for a rainy day; this is something you can act on immediately (like, today), and trust me: Your future self will thank you! 

So, start to develop contingency plans for different CPI scenarios, including both inflationary and deflationary scenarios, and use the above strategies to position your business for long-term success. 

Because, by proactively implementing strategic measures like these, you as a small business owner can navigate economic uncertainties …

… dare I say it …

with confidence! 


Author, Virtual CFO, and Finance Coach
Your First CFO: The Accounting Cure for Small Business Owners” on AMAZON