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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Succeeding In A Recession

from Omid Rahmat





Yes, we are in a recession. Maybe not a textbook definition of one, but textbooks tend to be behind the times. So, weíre in a recession. You can feel it. You can see the change in the business climate. Interestingly enough, those who have the resources Ė secure funding, or wealth Ė are relishing the inherent contradictions of the marketplace. They know that this is a time of great opportunity.

During a recessionary period the opportunities to succeed multiply quite significantly, but you donít have to be financed or wealthy to take advantage of them. You need to have a touch of the crazies, a lot of desire, and very, very thick skin. You see:


  • Markets open up as players withdraw, cut back or play it safe in the face of macroeconomic blight. This is a great time to compete aggressively because, most people tend to go fetal when faced with calamity. For example, the print publishing and newspaper business is in a real funk, but I am pretty certain that over the next three years we will see a new class of print publications, ones with a better symbiotic relationship with the web, and a better offline cost structure and distribution model.

  • Downturns hurt the chubby. Big companies hurt more because, they overindulge in good times, and crash diet in bad times. Being agile and small is a benefit during these times because, no one wants to pay for the overhead of a larger organization. Thatís why I am such a fan of SaaS applications: they give organizations agility and control over their overheads.

  • Doors in markets open up because those that are leaving forget to close them. People are quick to bail. After Bubble 1.0 online ad sales went bust. However, in one example, comparison shopping from the likes of PriceGrabber.com and Shopzilla.com delivered performance based lead generation to online merchants, and did it with no upfront exposure. They provided a clear path to ROI for the advertiser. They got business because, they got sales for their clients during a tough time.

  • Contrarian positions, wisely held, work better when there is mass indulgence in one direction or another. Recessions tend to make us all insecure. Fighting that insecurity, you need to bask in the boundless opportunities available. You may feel like a bit of a scavenger, sometimes, but this, too, shall pass.

Life does not stop during a recession. It goes on much the same for most people. Itís tough. Itís not as fun. Itís not secure. Ideal semantics for an entrepreneur. This is about the best time to be going into business.

Omid Rahmat was CEO of Tomís Guide Publishing, which was sold to a European publishing house in 2007. Presently, he resides in Thousand Oaks, where he is working on Why Be Happy, a new online publishing company.


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