Recessions And The Opportunities They Provide

by Martin Malden

Life’s pretty tough for a lot of people right now. If you’re not personally affected I bet you know someone who is.

If you’re feeling nervous and worried about the future, here are two things to think about that history has proven time and again to be true:

  1. Recessions always end
  2. Recessions always provide opportunities

Over the past 30 years or so we’ve had 4 recessions: the early 80’s, the early 90’s, the beginning of this century and now.  

Previous recessions have all ended and this one will too. The question is: are you ready for the upturn?

There are some businesses that are doing very well right now, precisely because we are in a recession:

  • Supermarkets – because people are eating out less
  • Dollar Stores (or $10 stores as they’re called here)
  • DIY stores – because people are re-modelling/repairing things themselves

Industries that provide the necessities of life do well in recessions.  Healthcare is the clearest example of that.

So what’s the opportunity?

The obvious answer is to look for a job in an industry that provides the necessities of life. That’s the quick and easy answer.

But what if your skills and experience don’t equate to what these industries are looking for?

A far better, longer term and ultimately more profitable solution would be to use your skills and experience to provide services to companies in industries that provide the necessities of life.

That’s where the real opportunity lies.

What services could you provide on a freelance basis to Supermarkets? Or DIY Stores?

Could you help them with recruitment? (They are recruiting in these times).

Could you help them with IT support?  With Web design services? With Marketing support? With Administrative support?

I wrote a post here on how to assess your strengths and weakness to prepare yourself for self employment.

But the short message is: work out what services you could provide to companies on a freelance basis, assess whether it’s worth teaming up with someone you know to offer a more complete service and get going.

The other clear message (at least for me) in these times is to make it easy for your prospects to do business with you.

I recently started my own web design business and while (of course!) I’m always very happy to get work for a fixed fee, I always talk to my prospects about creative ways that I could be compensated.

I try to make it easy for my prospects. Save them the up front cost by taking payment in the form of revenue share, or a fee based on costs saved.

Or whatever works for them in their business.

Every situation is different and the arrangements will be too. But by making things as easy as possible for my clients they start to see me more as a partner than a supplier.

And while I may not get a nice big fat fee up front, I do get an ongoing stream of income. 4 or 5 deals like that and I’ll start to build up quite a respectable ongoing stream of income.

It’s easy to hunker down into survival mode in times like these. But don’t.  The recession will end, but you don’t need to wait for that.

Start your own business providing services to industries that do well in recessions and make it easy for your prospects to do business with you.

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