Why Recessions Are Advantageous for Business Owners

10 min read
Jun 29, 2022

As a business owner, economic recessions are one of your most incredible opportunities to achieve success.

Moreover, recessions are the world’s way of giving business owners like you chances to succeed out of thin air!

Contrary to popular belief, economic slowdowns DO NOT automatically imply cutbacks on expenditures, layoffs, and impending doom.

To prove it, I’m sharing three reasons why recessions are advantageous for business owners.

Unless you use the recession to your advantage, the next recession will take advantage of YOU.

Specifically, I mean:

  • Your business goals will fall through the floor
  • Customers will drop you
  • Your anxiety will go through the roof

Nothing is good or bad until you put a label on it.

Will you use the next recession to your advantage, or allow it to take advantage of YOU?

 

Most CEOs Get Run Over By Recessions Instead of Taking Advantage

 

Even though recessions are advantageous, most CEOs allow recessions to run them over!

It is as if they drop their weapons the moment they see funky economic activities on the horizon.

Even worse, they allow mainstream news hosts (the farthest thing from economists) to convince them that doom is heading their way!

Moreover, most CEOs get run over by recessions because they ALLOW it to happen.

It doesn’t need to be that way, yet it always happens.

 

Recessions Are Predictable and Therefore Manageable

You don’t need to be an economist in New York City or read financial forecasts for a living to know recessions are a natural part of the business cycle.

Economic growth cannot last forever!

Economists and businesspeople predicted almost every recession in recent history.  

Perhaps the only exception is the 2020 pandemic’s short-term recession.

The extent or underlying causes of previous recessions were not initially clear to economists.  

However, they were still predicted!

That said, it shouldn’t be a total surprise to American business owners when a recession peaks around the corner.

Because recessions are mostly predictable, they shouldn’t completely pull the rug out from underneath a business owner!

Because the prediction of recessions is possible, you can focus on optimization and preparation. 

By preparing, you can equip yourself with the tools to manage the potential economic fallout.

 

The Human Brain Over-Inflates the Danger of Recessions

Unfortunately, the evolutionized human brain over-inflates the potential threats of recessions.

Why?

Millions of years ago, human ancestors needed to be hyper-aware of potential threats.

For example, they needed to be hyper-aware of threats from saber-tooth tigers while hunting. 

If they weren’t aware of the threat, they could die in an attack.

While saber-tooth tigers no longer exist, the human brain is still wired with the same hyper-awareness of potential threats!

Even though the threats we face these days aren’t even close to that of tigers, our brains still react to potential threats as if they were tigers.

As a result, whenever a threat like a recession appears, the brain tells us to go into full-on survival mode.

Sadly, the brain is working against us and making us more afraid of threats that likely pose little to no danger.

 

The Media Capitalizes on Business Owners Freaking Out

Not only does the brain work against us, but so does the media.

The moment mainstream media sees the potential for a recession, they act as if the world will end.

Then, they throw out buzzwords like gross domestic product, supply chain, and cash flow to freak viewers out. The more scared viewers are, the more money they get!

Unfortunately, most CEOs allow the media hype to shake them to the core.

 

How can recession affect a business?

 

1. Discomfort Is Essential for Learning and Growth

 

Most great start-ups and business ideas are born out of recessions because recessions present opportunities to learn and grow, unlike any other economic condition.

For example, Netflix, Microsoft, and Warby Parker were all born out of recessions!.

That said, economic recessions force business owners out of their comfort zone. Being out of their comfort zone forces them to learn and grow more than ever.

The more a business owner learns and grows, the more their business thrives.

During periods of economic stability, CEOs are more within their comfort zones. As long as they stay in their comfort zone, they do not grow.

Recessions are like friends pushing CEOs over a comfort cliff so they can learn and grow like never before.

 

When You’re Comfortable, You’re on Autopilot

Every small business owner has heard the saying that you don’t grow when you’re comfortable.

However, it’s worse than that.

When you’re comfortable, you’re running on autopilot.

When running on autopilot, it’s as if you’re just a pawn in the game of life!

For example, think about a time when you worked 9 to 5 and were extremely comfortable; you might not have felt good or bad, but you did feel numb.

That numb feeling is the body’s way of saying that you’re on autopilot!

While on autopilot, the world passes you by as you sit there like a rock doing nothing but unconsciously breathing.

 

When You’re on Autopilot, You’re Closed Off

Being on autopilot is like being in a bubble- you’re unconscious to everything around you.

The monotony of comfort closes you off to any new experience because new experiences would require you to open up.

Even though life is passing by and you can sense it, you’re too closed off to do anything!

Comfort has you chained up like a dog to a dog house.

 

Being Closed Off Is the Antithesis of Learning

As a medium or small business owner, you already know that learning is a part of the job.

No entrepreneur gets into the business game knowing exactly how to play it.

Instead, they learn to play the game as they play!

However, being closed off prevents you from learning to play the game!

Sadly, being too comfortable puts you on autopilot.  

Being on autopilot closes you to new experiences, and being closed off prevents you from learning anything new.

Thanks to being too comfortable, you’ve locked yourself in a box where you can’t learn anything new.

 

Less Learning = Less Growing = Competition Passes You.

The less you learn, the fewer opportunities you have to grow your business.

Even worse, if you never learn, your business grows backwards.  

AKA, your business goes into decline!

While you have stopped growing, the competition has pivoted their business according to what they have learned.  

As a result, they outshine you and your company.

 

Recessions Are the HEIGHT of Discomfort, & the Height of Opportunity

There’s nothing more discomforting than a looming recession.

While an entrepreneur’s human nature despises discomfort, business opportunities live in the discomfort zone.

No CEO ever learned and grew more than during discomforting times! 

That said, recessions create the perfect opportunity you need to embrace the opportunities discomfort creates.

Instead of shunning recessions as the discomforting time they are, embrace them like a cute puppy.

Just because you’re uncomfortable doesn’t mean there’s something wrong! Rather, you’re just growing as a CEO.

 

How can a business survive a recession?

 

2. More Customers Will Buy From You Than Ever Before

 

When an economic downturn appears on the horizon, 99% of people go into a panic, including your customer base.

They panic because economic shocks disrupt their sense of financial security. Not having security makes them feel extremely uncomfortable and vulnerable.

As a result, you have an opportunity to sell more than ever and therefore grow your business more than ever before!

Here’s why: Your job as a business owner is to serve people with your product or service.

Hard times in the economy present the BEST time to help people because more people than ever feel their security is at stake. They are looking for somebody to help make them feel more secure.

On the contrary, when economic conditions are stable, customers feel more secure and are less likely looking for help.

That said, use significant declines in the economy as an opportunity to make prospects feel secure again.

Specifically, sell your product or service as a means to help restore the prospect’s sense of security.

You can do this regardless of what your product or service is!

 

Potential Customers Panic Over Their Security

The highly-evolutionized human brain HATES feeling insecure.

Whenever it feels insecure, it panics!

Customers feel insecure whenever they see a financial crisis coming.

That said, you have a golden opportunity to slide into a potential customer’s life and make them feel secure again.

You can be the person to save them during a period of economic uncertainty.

The best part is that it doesn’t matter what product or service you sell; ANY deliverable can provide an opportunity to establish security.

Think about it- people mobbed supermarkets for toilet paper during the early days of the pandemic to inflate their security.

If toilet paper can make buyers feel secure, so can your product or service!

 

SELL SECURITY!

Again, selling security during a recession is the secret to selling more than ever.

Security = having more cash on hand.

Whatever product or service your business sells, make the prospect believe buying it will help them make more money.

For example, if you sell social media marketing services, frame your sale in a way that shows prospects your help will increase cash flow. AKA, show them that enhanced social media marketing will help them make more money in the near future.

The key here is being able to pitch your product/service like an absolute rockstar.

The better your pitches, the more the prospect will believe your product or service is necessary to reach security.

Companies like AirBNB were born out of the great recession because they created security for homeowners by allowing them to lease their houses for extra cash.

If AirBNB can come in out of nowhere and convince people to open up their homes to strangers for the sake of security, you can do the same!

 

Jump In to Help Prospects When Your Competition Is Jumping Out

The best part about selling during a recession is that it’s an open field.

While you’re selling like a mad person, your competition is retreating.

They are looking at the unemployment rate and GDPs figures and thinking they have no chance in the market.

The last thing they think their potential customers are doing is buying a new product or service.

Unfortunately for them and fortunately for you, they are wrong!

While everybody else in the market is jumping out, you should be jumping in.

Seize the opportunity of your competitors retreating like scared puppies.

 

Recession-Proof Businesses Are Sales Centric Businesses

The term 'recession-proof business’ is used to describe businesses that are supposedly unaffected by recessions.

For example, grocery stores are supposedly recession-proof because there will always be consumer demand for food.

On the flip side, certain retail sales businesses are supposedly non-recession proof because consumer spending tends to drop in those areas during recessions.

While there is truth to this, it DOES NOT mean you need to open a grocery store to survive a recession!

Instead, make sales the primary focus of your business.

As a CEO, you should devote at least 90% of your time to killing the sales game.

Specifically, 90% of your time on pitching as if your life depends on it.

If you can pitch like a boss, you will sell like a boss, and there is no better time to sell than during a recession.

The great depression, great recession, and most other recessions have proven that sales-centric businesses are recession-proof.

Are you ready to sell as your life depends on it (because it quite literally does)?

 

effects of recession on business

 

3. Challenging Conditions Are Necessary for Happiness

 

Comfort is very deceitful.

While it feels good to live in a comfortably stable economic world with temperature-controlled buildings, food on demand, and phones to keep us distracted, comfort DOES NOT translate to happiness or fulfillment.

If comfort equals happiness, why are so many Americans depressed and anxious?

The truth is happiness requires discomfort, and discomfort comes from challenges, including economic challenges.

If you aren’t happy as a CEO, then you might as well return to 9 to 5 and quit the stress of running a business!

Use the challenging economic conditions recessions create as fuel for fulfillment and happiness. 

The happier and fulfilled you are, the more effective you will be in business.

 

There Is no Fulfillment in Comfort.

Many business owners begin their professional careers as 9 to 5ers.

Living in the 9 to 5 world is very comforting; guaranteed paydays and vacation days are just a few of the comfort-inducing factors.

However, they eventually realize the 9 to 5 grind crushes their soul.

Despite the comfort, they realize being comfortable DOES NOT make them happy or fulfilled!

As a result, they start a business that, while challenging, induces fulfillment.

Sound familiar?

If you’re a CEO, I’m sure you’ve been through the same situation.

That said, you already know that comfort does not equal fulfillment! 

Therefore, why would you continue chasing comfort if you already know it doesn’t make you happy?

Instead of chasing discomfort, why not embrace it like you did when you started your business?

Initially, embracing discomfort will more likely make you feel afraid than happy. However, the fear is short-lived compared to the long-term happiness you experience afterwards!

 

Embracing the Discomfort of Challenges Gets You Into a Flow

When marathoners first start a race, they feel good for the first few miles.

Then about halfway through, their mind and body begin to turn on them; suddenly, their mind tells them it is getting uncomfortable, and their legs start to burn.

However, almost every marathoner will tell you that choosing to push through the mental and physical discomfort gives them more energy to press forward.

Also known as second wind, this sudden boost in energy comes right after you choose to keep pressing forward despite the mind and body telling you to stop!

The second wind gets runners into an ultra-satisfying flow-like state that brings immense endorphine-induced joy.

CEOs can get into this same satisfying flow-like state if they push through the mental and emotional challenges that recessions create.

 

The Flow Creates Happiness and Satisfaction

When you see top-tier CEOs working hard amidst economic turmoil AND being happy doing it, it’s because they’ve reached the flow state.

It’s not that they didn’t feel the pressure of the economic conditions.

Instead, they chose to push through until they reached the endorphin-infused second wind.

You, too, can push through the uncomfortable challenges of economic downturns AND feel happy doing it by persisting through the discomfort.

Reaching the second wind flow after pushing through discomfort creates more happiness and satisfaction than comfort ever will.

 

Final Thoughts on Why Recessions Are Advantageous for Business Owners

 

Recessions are only advantageous if you use them to your advantage.

Stop allowing the hype of a recession to overwhelm you and resultantly hold you back from taking control of it.

You cannot stop the FED from changing interest rates or the stock market from crashing, but you can control the direction of your business.

A recession is nothing more than a temporary economic decline; will you let a short-term change in economic conditions uproot your business?

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