This year has been a rocky one for the stock market, and if you're feeling discouraged about investing, you're not alone.

The good news, though, is that a bull market is on the way. While nobody knows exactly when stocks will rebound, every single bear market has eventually given way to a bull market.

Right now is the time to start preparing for the inevitable upswing, and there are a few Warren Buffett-approved strategies to make the most of it.

Closeup of Warren Buffett looking into the camera.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

1. Maintain a long-term outlook

When we're in the thick of a downturn, it can be tough to stay optimistic. But one of the best ways to build wealth in the stock market is to invest during the low points and simply wait for the market to recover.

In 2008, during the height of the Great Recession, Warren Buffett wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times.

"[F]ear is now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors," he writes. "But fears regarding the long-term prosperity of the nation's many sound companies make no sense. These businesses will indeed suffer earnings hiccups, as they always have. But most major companies will be setting new profit records five, 10, and 20 years from now."

As you're preparing for a bull market, a long-term outlook is key. Try to avoid getting caught up in the short-term market movements, and instead stay focused on your investments' long-term potential.

2. Focus on businesses over stocks

The stocks you choose can make or break your portfolio, particularly during periods of volatility. If you choose the right investments, you could see substantial gains when the market starts to rebound.

Choosing high-quality stocks comes down to picking the right companies. Businesses with solid fundamentals are more likely to survive a market downturn or recession. Even if they take a hit in the short term, they have a much better chance of thriving over the long run.

Buffett makes a point to only invest in the strongest companies. In Berkshire Hathaway's 2021 letter to shareholders, he explains that he and business partner Charlie Munger "own stocks based upon our expectations about their long-term business performance and not because we view them as vehicles for timely market moves."

"That point is crucial," he continues. "Charlie and I are not stock pickers; we are business pickers."

3. Invest now before prices rebound

When stock prices are down across the board, it may not seem like the best time to buy. However, right now is one of the best investing opportunities of the year.

Not only can you snag quality stocks at a discount, but by investing during the market's slumps, you could see significant returns when the market eventually rebounds.

For instance, between 1999 and 2001, Amazon lost nearly 95% of its value amid the dot-com bubble burst. But if you had invested at its lowest point and simply waited it out, you would have seen returns of more than 700% over the next two years alone.

AMZN Chart.

AMZN data by YCharts.

Market downturns can be incredible buying opportunities, but if you wait too long to invest, you could miss out on some of those earnings.

"Let me be clear on one point: I can't predict the short-term movements of the stock market," Buffett explains in the Times article. "What is likely, however, is that the market will move higher, perhaps substantially so, well before either sentiment or the economy turns up. So if you wait for the robins, spring will be over."

We may not know exactly when the next bull market will begin. But by investing now when prices are lower and then holding those investments for the long term, you can take full advantage of the inevitable upswing.