November 1, 2014

The Recession’s Silver Lining

Did the recession ever really end? Technically, we are in a recovery, but there is little growth in the economy, employment and wages are stagnant, home prices and consumer confidence both continue to drop, and retail sales are down. The immediate future doesn’t look bright. However, the bright side is that now may the best time for people with the entrepreneurial itch to scratch it and go into business for themselves.

silver lining

How can I advise starting a business when things seem so uncertain and credit markets are thought to be tight?  There are several reasons:

1) Job Growth Is Almost Nonexistent

Washington’s stimulus efforts haven’t worked. Meanwhile, corporations have reduced their workforces, gotten increased productivity out of their remaining workers, and felt no need to hire when times got better. The result: higher corporate earnings but few new jobs. Those who have been out of work for six months or more now realize that the government and big companies are not going to create jobs for them.

The answer is to create your own employment. If you have ever dreamed about starting your own company, now is the time to take the bull by the horns (or the bear by its tail) and go for it.

2) Low-Cost Capital Is Available

With housing sales down, banks are not making money from granting mortgages, yet financial institutions cannot generate profits without making loans. While the largest banks have other sources of income and strict lending criteria, smaller banks and nonbank lenders (credit unions, nonprofit institutions and others) have less stringent requirements and are more likely to lend to entrepreneurs.

These lenders may not be as well known as the big guys, but they are making loans — often at better interest rates than the large banks are able to offer. While some experts are saying that capital markets are too tight, the reality is there are lots of lenders out there looking to make loans. Do not be discouraged.

3) Technology Makes It Easier to Go Into Business Than Ever Before

All aspects of starting a business are easier now than ever before because of technology:

  • Searching for funding? You can find it online through a loan-matching website.
  • Don’t know how to keep your books? You can search the Internet for a CPA or hire a free lance, part-time CFO through Elance.com, which helps thousands of businesses hire and manage online. The site enables companies to find and hire qualified professionals without having to take on full-time employees.
  • Need help with your marketing? Conduct a Google search to find a local PR or marketing firm (they are all hungry right now) or take matters into your own hands by using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other forms of social media. You don’t need a journalism degree or marketing MBA to take advantage of the free resources on the Internet that can help you promote your business.

4) America Has a Heritage of Entrepreneurship

Small business growth has historically led the U.S. out of past recessions. This is likely to be the case again during the current downturn. Small businesses create two-thirds of the new jobs in this country. Creating an atmosphere to nurture and develop startup companies is vital to America’s recovery.

Whether or not the country is still in a recession is a topic for debate. But our instincts tell us the economy is not great right now. This is an opportunity to take the risk and pursue the American Dream. I know this because I started my company just as Lehman Brothers collapsed. It was difficult, but we came out stronger for it.

Success isn’t going to come to you; you must go after it yourself. Fortunately, there are plenty of people and resources available — often easily accessed online — to help you do it.


Image from Peter Baxter/Shutterstock

6 Comments ▼
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Rohit Arora


Rohit Arora Rohit Arora, CEO and Co-founder of Biz2Credit, is one of the country's leading experts in small business finance. Since its founding in 2007, Biz2Credit has arranged $800M in small business loans and has helped thousands of entrepreneurs. Rohit was named Crain's NY Business "Entrepreneur of the Year 2011."

6 Reactions

  1. Like most situations, those with the right perspective, attitude and skills can succeed despite the doom and gloom being trumpeted around in the media. Whether it’s finding an under served niche or executing more efficiently than current competitors there will always be opportunity.

  2. It might be a cliche but the best time to start a business is in the worst of times, as if things improve then you’ll be ahead of the curve…

  3. I agree that starting a business during a recession, or recovery, if that’s what they want to call what is happening, is still a great opportunity. The only thing is you will need to start small or to self finance because banks are only going to lend to people with rock solid finances and cash in the bank. Opportunities always present themselves if you are looking

  4. I’ve always been a fan of small banks and credit unions, they didn’t need to get bailed out and stayed away from the risky sub-prime mortgages. The big banks got us into this mess, and then we rely on them to lend us money to get us out of it. This is a great post of showing that you don’t need them, and a “secure job” is a thing of the past. This is still the land of opportunity where you can go from nothing to something in a lifetime. It just takes hard work and dedication, not federal handouts.

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