Starting a Business in a Recession

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Some business owners and Entrepreneurs are good planners. Some are not. Some consider themselves “do’ers” and they are very good at doing what they do and really don’t have the time to plan for next year or the year after, or for 5-years from now. It is a sound business practice to have a plan or idea that extends beyond the current year. Many business owners and operators had such foresight and plans. They planned to sell or exit their business, and then were hit by the drop in their stock portfolio, retirement funds, drop in home value and depressed company results. So those well laid out plans are delayed as a result of the business environment.

The economic climate has done more than bring on lower sales, lower profits and lost employment. It has affected many well laid out plans.

What about the businessman or entrepreneur that had planned to start a business, or buy a business only to feel the need to address the question- Can I start a new business during a recession? What does one do? Delay the decision until the economy turns around, or move ahead regardless of the slumping economy. When running and or growing a business for an extended period of time ( say 10-20+ years), it is inevitable that you will need to operate that business during both good economic times and bad economic times. How much do you allow the economic climate to be an excuse/reason/crutch or do you try to just work harder thru it. I personally view this economic downturn that we currently operate to be quite different than any “downturn” I have seen in my 25 years of business.

Most of what I read and discuss with others refer to our current economic environment as a Recession. But is it possibly a Depression? A common offhanded comment defines A Recession is when your neighbor looses their job, A Depression is when you lose your job. Respective governments have criteria used to define both a Depression and or Recession. I question the accuracy and application to our newer global economy, but believe that we must have very smart people that watch over our economy and make necessary adjustments or revision- Right? . I also question how much our politicians and policy makers really know what the business climate really is at the “street level”. I actually think our economic climate we have been operating in is neither a Recession or a Depression but rather a hybrid maybe there is a need for a new or different term to refer to our business environment. I think the non-existent term “DEP-RECESSION” may apply.

So what do you do with your plans to start that business or buy that business. Do you delay or press ahead. My thought is that it is somewhat dependent upon the business venture. Many businesses and consumers still need to procure certain products or services to allow their household or business to continue. But some buying decisions can be put on hold or delayed until the economic uncertainty passes. How much your product/service may be considered a discretionary expenditure may influence your decision to go forward or delay. For example if you are in the paper business, businesses still need paper to run their operation or make copies. But a business may not be compelled to buy that new copier and may decide to just “get by” with the one they have.

Most small business owners and entrepreneurs I know are more of the press ahead type and fairly aggressive with their business decisions. Should one delay the decision to start or buy a business until the economy improves? I’m not so sure, but what if it takes 2-5 more years to improve.- This almost sounds like an answer to this question.

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