Lessons to be Learned during a Recession

July 2, 2020

The United States is officially in a recession. The National Bureau of Economic Research points to the "unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy." The good news is this recession shouldn’t last as long as past recessions. Why? Well because the current recession was caused by a public health crisis not by issues within the financial market. Thanks, Corona? 

Right now you may be asking yourself, “Is that supposed to make me feel better?” We get it, while it may be short lived that doesn’t mean it’s been any less devastating for you and your business. 

Here’s a look at lessons learned in the last recession. These tips, along with that entrepreneurial spirit, can help you better navigate your current day-to-day operations in these challenging times.

Stay cool

This isn’t a result of anything you, your employees or your customers did. So, don’t take it out on them. People follow the leader. Stay calm and your team will be able to focus on getting creative and solving the problem. 

Forced creativity isn’t a bad thing

The startup world is used to being creative, right? And a little more creativity is the kind of thing that will solve the laundry list of problems that you run into amid a recession. Problems like meeting payroll, changing your marketing strategy, keeping team morale without spending money, finding new customers and the list goes on. 

Creativity can solve every one of these recession problems — you just have to get out of your own way and not feel sorry for yourself.

You learn more about your weak spots

When things get hard, it becomes clear what your weak spots are as a founder and as a startup. Lean into your weaknesses and use a recession to your advantage. Realizing how terrible you are at sales? Read some books, join the Village, after becoming a Villager you can set up a meeting with one of our advisors, maybe watch some webinars, or just practice with your team… use the time you would spend on your commute for a little personal growth.

Recessions result in stronger businesses

Sometimes you need a big change to realize that your old business wasn’t adding value and wasn’t solving any problem. Maybe it’s time to pivot to solve a new problem created by this pandemic or help people connect in a new way? We’ve seen some startups change direction and pay it forward to help people suffering during COVID-19.  Who knows, you may come out of this with a new and improved business plan. 

A recession is not a big, scary monster

You will learn many harsh realities about being an entrepreneur during a recession. That is a good thing! When things are moving along smoothly, you don’t have to be as innovative or as creative. A recession is a wakeup call that you can’t get lazy and you have to keep making changes. 

Pay it forward

Many of us have not been in business during previous recessions. If you are one of the people who survived the 2008 financial crisis, help your fellow entrepreneur. Helping people through their first recession helps remind you of what you may have forgotten from the last one. It’s a lesson for you as much as it is a lesson for the person you’re guiding through the fear of a recession for the first time.

The time is now to face our fears and use this recession to be selfless and learn that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves.

COVID-19 has resulted in the most rapid shutdown of economic activity that the U.S., or the global economy, has ever seen. While this may be the deepest financial crisis, it is expected to be the shortest. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, friends. Just keep going. 

July 2, 2020
Hilton Thompson