Launching and growing a small business during a recession is undeniably challenging. Many small business owners will scale back or hold off on launching a new business as uncertain times arise. When your competitors scale back this is your launching pad. They literally just opened up the greatest opportunity for you to transform their fears into your success.
It’s important to remember that some of the world’s most successful businesses were started during a recession. The key is to approach your new business with a combination of caution, creativity, and resilience. Economic downturns open up new challenges as opportunities for growth and innovation.
Are you trying to decide if you should start a new business as war and recession present a real fear? Consider the testimonies of those who took their window of opportunity seriously and launched their business during a recession in the last 130 years. The billionaires listed below stood in your shoes at one point in time. They were hesitant and unsure if it was the right time to start a new business. They allowed their doubt to inform their decisions, identified opportunities and addressed emerging needs, ultimately contributing to their success.
Businesses that started during a recession. Listen to the episode here!
Over 100 Years Of Successful Businesses That Started During A Recession
General Electric Opened During the Panic of 1893
General Electric launched in 1892 and reported a revenue of $95.2 billion in 2019. Thomas Edison and company launched General Electric as the United States was gearing up for the Panic of 1893. Over a 16 month period, business activity dropped nearly 40% across the nation. Regardless, the company persisted and also became one of the original 12 companies listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896, where it remained for just over 100 years.
General Motors Scaled During a 13 Month Panic in 1907
General Motors launched in 1908 and reported $137.2 billion in revenue in 2019. The founder of General Motors, William Durant was manufacturing horse-drawn carriages in the late 1800s. He made his transition into the automobile industry in 1904 with his purchase of the Buick Motor Company. In 1908 30% of businesses experienced a decline after a 13-month panic in 1907. The fear could have taken hold of William Durant, he made the strategic decision to launch GM as a holding company to acquire even more automobile manufacturers. This strategy would serve GM well, as it would go on to become one of the largest corporations in the history of the world.
Disney Experienced Tremendous Business Growth During the Great Depression
Disney launched in 1929 and has a reported revenue of $69.6 billion in revenue as of 2019. Walt and Roy Disney (brothers) introduced Mickey Mouse through a short-animated feature called Steamboat Willie in 1928. Just one year later they incorporated Walt Disney Productions just in time for the 4-year Great Depression to kick off. The brothers knew that America needed a smile now more than ever before. They were able to navigate the complex challenges of the Great Depression. The company grew so much during the Great Depression that they began working on their first full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, that hit the screens just after the Great Depression ended.
Trader Joes Opened During the Recession of 1958
Trader Joes launched in 1958 and has an estimated revenue of $13.3 billion in revenue as of 2019. During the recession of 1958 Joe Coulombe founded Trader Joes under the name Pronto Markets in Southern California. When Joe arrived back home from a vacation in the Caribbean, he sensed a need to provide international food options in his stores as his customer reach was becoming more global. Trader Joes grew rapidly until he sold the business to a German billionaire in 1979.
FedEx Launched A New Service At the End of the 1969-1970 Recession
FedEx launched in 1970 and has an estimated revenue of $65.5 billion dollars in revenue reported as of 2019. Fred Smith, Founder of FedEx launched this reliable cargo delivery service as part of a school project while attending Yale University at the tail end of the 1969-1970 recession. His development consisted of fast, reliable and efficient delivery services that were unheard of at the time. He was faced with multiple start up challenges as he struggled to sell this concept to the business community. During stressful times, business owners were hesitant to invest in an untested service. Fred overcame the challenges and the company reported delivering more than 6 million packages a day as of 2019.
Microsoft Was Developed During An Oil Crisis and Stock Market Crash
Microsoft hit the ground running in 1975 and currently reports $125.8 billion in revenue as of 2019. Bill Gates and Paul Allen began developing their new computer software business, Microsoft, during the major oil crisis and a stock market crash of 1973. A 16 month recession that resulted in GDP’s worst hit in nearly 20 years did not stop them from developing one of the most innovative ideas of our time. Microsoft officially launched just days after the recession ended. The company grew substantially in the first decade and launched an IPO in 1986 that created 3 billionaires and 12,000 millionaires in the process.
Successful Businesses Start By Solving Problems The Recessions Create
Recession and other economic disruptions come with new problems for small business owners to solve. Many will respond with fear, and a few will spur on towards success as they push past the fears and begin creating products and services that solve new problems. Right now is prime time to make your mark by launching or growing your small business.
Despite uncertain times, are you ready to start your business? Even under the best circumstances, starting or growing a business is complex and challenging. At Jump Start Business Builders we know how important it is to take purposeful steps to grow a profitable small business. Check out our 12-week business coaching series! Over the next 12 weeks you will have the proven steps and strategies to help you launch or grow your small business. It is our mission to help you achieve your first $100,000 in revenue and dispel the myth that you are 2-3 years away from a paycheck. Register here for just $97!
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