A Great Recession

Unless you’ve been travelling very far abroad the last few years, you’ve surely heard the term “The Great Recession.” It was in many ways an economic catastrophe unrivaled since the Great Depression, brought about by a toxic mix of unregulated banks, Wall Street greed, and misplaced housing policy. And when it hit, it hit hard.

What you may not know is that, like any recession, the Great Recession presents you with an almost unparalleled opportunity to grow your own business. It sounds counter-intuitive, so let me explain.

The logic you’ve heard is clear, and it appears sound. Credit is tight and with income focused on the top 1%, consumers have trouble getting the money to maintain their lifestyle. So they pull back, causing businesses to lose cash flow, which causes cutbacks and downsizing, which further restricts consumer income, and the cycle continues. In fact, that’s probably exactly how you experienced – and suffered through – the Great Recession.

Now imagine working for yourself through it.

First, nobody can fire you or downsize you. Only you control your wages when you’re working for yourself. If you want job security, it doesn’t get any more secure than having access to your own personal independent earnings.

But you’re looking for more than just security. You’re not looking to play defense through the recession – everybody is doing that, and everybody can’t win when they’re all playing the same game. Defensive play means hoarding your money, cutting back on expenditures, taking fewer risks… all the things the people who got us into a recession spend their time advising everyone to do. Meanwhile, businesses collapse and banks refuse to lend.
Your task, then, is to follow the advice of legendary investor and businessman Warren Buffett: “… be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy only when others are fearful.” When other businesses are fading away, those markets are opening right up to new competitors. When businesses are retrenching and cutting prices, you’re poised to take advantage of their less expensive services in your own business. And with productivity up and wages down, there’s a major productivity gap that business owners are profiting from. Taking on your own business puts you back on the right side of that equation.

Historically, you’ll be in good company – successful entrepreneurship trends upward during all recessions, and the Great Recession has been no different. It makes sense; recessions are the periods between economic growth. When you get your business in place and earning you income during a recession, you’re getting in at the ground floor before the next growth cycle and positioning yourself to maximize your personal independent earnings for years to come. Now that will make your recession truly great.

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