It’s the big “R” word. Since the prime mortgage bubble (among other bubbles) burst middle of last year, a lot of businesses have been feeling the crunch. It’s not only small businesses and entrepreneurs who have been on the losing end. Even large corporations have been filing for bankruptcy. Big industries, like the American auto industry, had to be helped with massive bailout schemes.
Is it then a good time to start a business during recession?
The answer is a definite maybe. This is not necessarily the best time to be taking risky investments. However, if you plan your business just right, then you might be in for a successful venture. Here’s why.
It’s a buyer’s market. These days, the market is favoring buyers, and not sellers. In my experience trying to sell homes for a few friends, we’ve always had to contend with buyers’ offers. Because everyone else is selling cheaply these days (with the financial crunch), competition is tough.
Therefore, if you’re planning to start a business, you can expect good deals on assets, equipment and other things that a business may need (be it hardware or software). People are letting go of properties easy, and these are ripe for the picking.
Everything is cheaper. Related to the first point, many thing are cheaper in times of recession. Not only are buildings, assets and other products cheaper, even services are cheaper. Because a lot of people are being given the pink slip at work, many will be starting to freelance. Some would also agree to take jobs at lower rates than their previous ones.
If you’re planning to start a business, it might make sense to start now, while labor is cheap.
It’s the same with investing with stocks. Common sense might tell you not to buy shares of stock while prices are dropping. But long-term investors actually prefer to buy stocks while prices fall, because they consider the long-run average cost to be more important than the short-run returns. A lower long-run average cost, compared to a higher return (say, when you sell shares once the prices are back up) will give you some yield.
There’s no way than up. It’s a matter of perspective. When things are looking down, you should expect them to improve one time or another. If you start a business with a booming market, you might be facing tough competition from other people who have the same idea. But if you’re starting a business during a recession, then everyone else is thinking of survival or even subsistence–therefore, no one is really too keen on spending money to start up a a business and compete with you.
This is a maybe rather than a definite yes because this business strategy is not always applicable in all industries and instances. If you have extra money to burn, then by all means go for it. But if you expect banks to lend you money, then watch out for tough times–credit is expensive these days. But if you have a business plan that won’t involve much external investment, and if you can bootstrap your way into profitability, then starting a new business can be a worthwhile activity even with a recession.