How to Benefit From a Recession

Update – 21st October, 2011:

I’ve written a new article on this same theme, but taking into account the chaos caused by the sovereign and bank debt crises, which are affecting the European and US economies so badly. You can find it here.

I’ve also released a step-by-step course on how to set up a business online (one of my recommendations below), which you can find here.

It covers everything from finding a business, tools for market research, how to set up a website, how to market it and how to sell safely and securely online.

Original article starts here:

I’m writing this from Dubai, where I’m on a consulting project for a new, young telephone company.  The interesting thing is that no one locally is talking about a recession.

My client is planning a very aggressive expansion strategy over the next 3 years, with multiple new products and services coming online and heavy investment in its operations and systems.

What’s the lesson in that..?  To me it’s the same lesson that I wrote about here.

It’s also the same lesson that Brian Clark has written about on CopyBlogger: make sure you’re zigging while everyone else is zagging.

Now is the very time to adopt an aggressive business strategy.

While the natural instinct is to hunker down and go into survival mode, those who are able to get over this and look for ways of expanding their business, or starting a new business, will find this recession to be the best thing that ever happened to them.

10 years ago, during the Asian Financial crisis, I was running a small consultancy in Hong Kong with a friend and business partner, and we did incredibly well out of it.

We were small and nimble, whereas most of our competitors in Asia had got fat and slow during the boom years of the early to mid 90’s.

Exactly the same thing happened then.  As our competition began hunkering down (but not doing anything to change their business strategy) we were able to live off the crumbs.

Eventually enough of these crumbs came our way that we built up a business that was taking up all our resources.  We also built a reputation for doing quality work at a sensible price.

And, within 18 months, all of our new business came from recommendations – I no longer had to go out and ‘knock on doors’.

We would never have been in that position if we’d not been able to take advantage of the Asian Financial Crisis.

Here are some things you can do

  1. Look at ways you could expand – what do people need in a recession that you can provide?
  2. Look at your competitors and step into the gaps they leave as they hunker down
  3. Look at starting your own business to give yourself a plan B should your employer start downsizing – more information and links to useful articles on starting an online business here.

Recessions provide just as many opportunities as the good times do – they just look a bit different.

You should also read this article and this article, both of which go into more details on ways you can prepare for, and benefit from, a recession.

If you have any questions drop me a line,


Martin Malden.

What do you think?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kenny Ritchie Oct 20, 2008 @ 20:04

    I can see similarites in my field which is service management. The big players are forming a passive position trying to consolidate what they have in place already.

    In every market there are opprotunities and the time for action is now

  • WealthyDragon Oct 20, 2008 @ 23:26

    Hi Kenny,

    Agreed – if you can make it work now, when the good times return you will be well positioned to really reap the benefits.



  • Sarah Oct 21, 2008 @ 11:41

    It seems like the best time to take action is when everyone else around you is becoming nervous or is in a panic about the economy. Now seems like a great time to be creative with a business.

  • PizzaForADream Oct 21, 2008 @ 15:08

    Great post! I’ve always heard it said to look where everyone else is going and do exactly the opposite! Being that I’ve always marched to the beat of a different drummer, this thought process has served me well during my career and in business.

    PizzaForADream´s last blog post..Now’s The Time to Swallow Your Pride

  • WealthyDragon Oct 22, 2008 @ 11:17

    Hi Pizza,

    It’s very true, but it also takes a bit of nerve at first. If you can deal with that, though, you can do very well!



  • Stefan Töpfer Nov 4, 2008 @ 23:27

    This is a great post.