Small Businesses That Thrive in a Recession

Slim Jim's Liquor Store, Islington, N1By now, almost everyone has been directly affected by the recession in some way. If anything, you might have a new sort of hesitancy when it comes to starting a business after seeing how easy it is for even large companies to go under in times of economic crisis. It begs the question, which are the businesses that thrive even in a downturn? When you’re thinking long-term about your business future, it’s a good idea to know what kind of enterprise will keep you afloat in the best of times as well as the worst of times. Hopefully there won’t be another recession as terrible as the last anytime in the near future, but every budding entrepreneur needs to know that the economic pendulum is always swinging, and you always have to be ready for it. These are some of your surest bets.

1. Repair Services

These days, cars can last up to 300,000 miles, and repairing your old vehicle is increasingly more cost-effective than buying a new one. This is especially true in a recession, where virtually nobody wants to buy new cars. So if you own and operate a business that provides any kind of auto work, you could even see an increase in customers when times are bad. It’s not just cars, either. Repairs for jewelry, appliances, electronics, and more can thrive during a recession, because people would simply prefer fixing their valuables to replacing them.

2. Temp Agencies

Businesses turn to temp agencies during a recession to find cheaper labor that can easily be released if the economy happens to get worse. If you run an independent staffing agency, you will get an increase in workers that have been laid off from their permanent positions, and you will get an increase of clients who have had to lay off some of their workforce. It’s not a pleasant situation for anyone, but staffing agencies can make money by making the most of the times. Temp agencies are expected to provide up to 12 percent of the entire labor pool in America in the next few years.

3. Alcohol Sales

This is an easy one. When things are good, people love to drink. When things are bad, people love to drink even more. Alcohol is one of the escapist pleasures in life that consumers very rarely give up. If you own a bar or manage a store that sells alcohol and spirits, you could see your business increase during a recession. In fact, they’ve expanded around 10 percent a year since 2008, and that’s with unemployment higher than 9 percent. Whatever troubles they have, the customer will still be up for drinking them away.

4. Tutoring Services

When people lose their jobs, not only do they go back to school in higher numbers, they also begin to place even more importance on education for their children. Whether or not it’s true, Americans want to believe that more education would solve their problems or would have kept them from being out of work. So tutoring services designed to help students of all ages can do well in a recession. Knowledgeable tutors can charge a high premium for their help, especially for adult students who haven’t been in a classroom for a while.

There are many things to consider when you think about what kind of business you’d like to start, and the ability to thrive in a recession is only one of them. But most experts will tell you that providing a service people will always need, or a service they will always want, is a good place to start. When there’s not much money to go around, where are the places your customers will spend it?

Nicole Freeman is an avid business blogger. Interested in furthering your business career? You may consider enrolling in an advanced degree program such as those offered by Washington State University or UCLA.

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One comment

  1. Starting a business seems scary to most of us. With the uncertainty of our economy, entrepreneurs are looking for business ideas that can make it through both good and bad times. There are quite a few recession business ideas that many of us are not looking into and failed to consider. Some of which are: Internet Marketing, Medical Billing, Property Staging, eBay Trading Assistance and Virtual Assistance. However, start thinking out of the box and constantly look for greater opportunities.

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