Embracing the recession

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on November 11, 2008 in: Business - Plain & Simple

We live in uncertain economic times. Every time we turn on the news we hear of another company that is going under, another company that is laying off thousands of its workforce or another company that has had to respond to a lack of shareholder confidence with kneejerk reactions. People just don’t want to watch the news anymore!

Millions of people have watched their investment portfolios and job security vanish before their very eyes. Chances are, you’re among them.

The news is depressing, and it is challenging to suddenly lack confidence in your ability to retire at 65. So what is your response going to be? Most of the people who watched their portfolios and job security disappear are going to take the wrong action: they are going to do nothing and hope that they come out on the other side of this dark economic tunnel unscathed.

My advice to you? Don’t join them! Don’t run on autopilot for the next months or years and “hope for the best”. Instead, embrace the recession.

Yes, you read that correctly: embrace the recession. Consider the recession your opportunity to start a business and redefine your economic future. Now, some people might think that a recession is a bad time to start a business, but I think it’s the perfect time. Here’s why:

  1. People still buy things in a recession. The key is to offer a product or service that is still purchased in spite of the economic downturn.
  2. Other businesses, which were operating before the recession, are facing the economic challenges of staying afloat because their business model is designed to profit in a strong economy. You, however, are coming in lean and mean because your business model recognizes the recession and allows for it.
  3. Working from home can be cheaper than going to work. With gas prices and food prices spiking to all-time-high levels, it might actually cost less to stay home and work there. Cut back on those restaurant lunches, fill the tank much less frequently. Oh, and don’t forget that some of your home ownership expenses will now become tax deductible.
  4. As a self-employed business-owner, you’ll have greater career confidence because you will be deciding the future of your job, not someone who is higher up in the organization. What’s more, with every sale you make, you’ll be building your own job security and hastening your retirement (rather than lining someone else’s pockets without any assurance that you’ll have a job tomorrow).

There are other benefits, too: You’ll reduce the stress you might feel in commuting through rush hour traffic at the beginning and end of the day, and you’ll also be doing some good for the environment!

So, that leads to the next question: How should you embrace the recession?

My first piece of advice would be to find your passion. What do you love to do? I love to work with other people and help them guide and manage their business. I do this through consulting and project management services.

Next, see what the market needs. By performing a marketplace analysis, you’ll have a clear idea of what people are buying during these tough economic times. That will allow you to shape your products or services to suit them.

When you find something that you enjoy doing and that other people need, you’ve got a great match! You probably need to develop the product or service so that it is a profitable offering. You likely need to create a website and other marketing material so people can find you and transact business.

And then you start selling.

This list looks simple, but it’s a lot of work. Don’t feel like you need to do it all yourself. You’ll actually come out ahead if you do the work you can do well and you outsource the rest to skilled, competent service providers who are experts in these areas.

Don’t wait for your portfolio to disappear. Don’t wait for the pink slip to show up on your desk. Take charge today and embrace the recession!

Heather Recommends:

Running a business can be busy, challenging work. I can help you become more productive and successful. Find out how.

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