Business Success

Can you grow your business during a recession?

Despite the stagnant economy, nine out of 10 small-business owners see opportunities for their own companies, according to a survey conducted by Intuit, maker of Quickbooks. More than three-fourths expect their business to grow in the coming year.

Surprised at this optimistic outlook? In previous recessions, many small businesses actually grow by taking advantage of weakened competition and big company cutbacks.

For smart companies, downturns are merely breathing spaces between booms. According to ABC News technology reporter, Michael Malone, recessions are “a time for consolidating resources and staff, abandoning low-performing products and market ventures…and most of all, stealing the march on competitors by gearing up new products for the return of demand.”

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, there are 5 great reasons to start up or grow businesses to in a recession:

  • Everything is cheaper. Right now there are great deals in every category, from land and equipment to commercial office space, personnel and labor. Some people have waited years to find value in these markets and now their time has come.
  • You can hire better people. There are highly qualified professionals in all professions who can help get your business off the ground.
  • Companies are more willing to change suppliers. From a cost perspective, everything is on the table for most companies. You have a great chance of winning new business if you can deliver better value or a more innovative way of delivering products and service.
  • Tax incentives are available. By owning a business, you have a variety of tax benefits that aren’t available to employees.
  • Financing from family or friends might be more available. With the stock market and real estate in a downturn, you have an opportunity to raise capital you need with the people who know and trust you.

In working with business owners, I’ve seen many benefits of starting up now – or focusing on growth. Many competitors have closed shop or tightened their belts, creating new market share. New business niches have also been created by the economy – especially in “green”, clean energy, businesses supporting education, and especially technology – which is gearing up for the next generation of products that will come out in the fall.

For example, Intel recently announced that it would continue to maintain its current level of R&D investment despite the recession. Why is this so important? Because what happens upstream in the world of chips sets the pace for everything that happens downstream in computers, smart phones, videogames, servers and, ultimately, in social networks, Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

By spending billions of dollars on new products now, Intel will be positioned to own the semiconductor industry when the economy turns upward. This is a great example of having vision, staying the course, and planning for growth.

Recession or not, growing your business still takes great ideas, hard work, a sound business plan, great financing, high goals, and tons of courage.

What it boils down to is all about getting clear: your market, your customers, your plan, your product, your services AND taking action. If you are thinking about taking action you are already too late. It is not about thinking, it is about doing. If you don’t know how, hire someone, read a book, call someone who will share experiences. Take ownership for your situation and take action to move forward.

Think like “Intel” and start investing in growth!

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