By Tara Lane, Staff Writer
The current recession has brought about many buzzwords in the media; recession-proof, recessionista, and the great recession are just some of the many words that have been thrown around in news stories and blogs over the past year. Countless articles have been published inquiring about what people are doing now, when the job market is at its worst. Some people continue their schooling, others stay locked into jobs they can’t stand. One topic that hasn’t been explored as widely during this time is that of entrepreneurship. As the economy continues to rollercoaster, there are many who seem immune to it, building a business from the ground up despite advice warning against it.
When news of a market downturn first started making headlines a few years ago, few people gave it much thought. But when reality hit, few knew what to do. For those who had a vision and the ambition to do so, they employed themselves by doing something they loved. Although a bad economy may not seem like the best time to be a small business owner, it has actually been good news for many. In a piece for Harvard Business Publishing, New Mountain Ventures founders Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek write,
“Many people assume that entrepreneurs are allergic to recessions. It turns out that downturns can be times of tremendous opportunity–and, yes, profit–for entrepreneurs. But only if they play their cards right.”
The entrepreneurial spirit has taken hold among people all over the country looking to break out of the everyday and be their own boss. Entrepreneurship inspires creativity, allows someone to become incredibly passionate, and bring something new to the world. Those who recognize the potential in a recession—most important being decreased barriers to entry and the need for new businesses—will reap the rewards.
CNN recently published a piece on a history of businesses born during economic downturns, citing examples of Proctor and Gamble, FedEx, and IBM. Obviously, these are some of the most recognizable brand names today. The Gergen and Vanourek piece also cites successful recession ventures such as Cliff Bar and Chipotle. What would have happened if these entrepreneurs had not had the courage to start their businesses? Although these companies have had their ups and downs, they are able to weather the storm even better because of the foundation they were started on.
Although the odds seem to be against entrepreneurs, with banks tight on financing options and decreased consumer confidence, the odds may just be in their favor. Even as unemployment continues to rise, the number of self-employed business owners and small businesses continues to be on the rise. It takes a certain kind of person to be an entrepreneur. Having a unique idea to bring to the table, and the drive and willingness to follow through with it, are key to a successful entrepreneur. With the right tools and a solid business plan and the willingness to fight the odds, an entrepreneur’s dream can become a reality—and a success.
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