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2009 IS A GREAT YEAR TO START A BUSINESS
By David Gass


Some of you may think I'm crazy for the headline but it's true. In the midst of a down turn, stock market plummeting, housing prices falling, high unemployment, poor consumer confidence, and all the other things going wrong there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That's right - new business start-ups.

If you don't believe me, just look at history. A recent article by Rhonda Abrams in the USA Today noted that 16 of the 30 companies that make up the Dow industrial average were started during a recession or depression. These include: Procter & Gamble, Disney, Alcoa, McDonald's, General Electric and Johnson & Johnson.

In the years 1973-1975 the United States had an unpopular president, was in the midst of the Watergate scandal and was at the tail end of an extremely costly war that had divided the country. Gas prices increased 50% in just two years and consumer confidence dropped to an all time low.

You would think based on the state of America between 1973 and 1975 you wouldn't want to start a business or at least if you did it would be a horrible time to do so and no company would make it. We'll here are a few that did start in the early 70's and not only survived.... Well you'll get the picture.

Supercuts, Chilis, Cablevision, Industrial Light & Magic, Famous Amos Cookies, Oakley and of course there was Microsoft.

Starting a business in so-called "bad-times" can be a great time. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Many businesses are closing leaving a gap for the consumer to fulfill on their needs. If there are four Ice Cream stores in the area and consumers slow down their spending, you'll likely see all four stores hurting for customers. The Ice Cream store with the best financial balance sheet will likely survive through the "hard-times". If there aren't any with good balance sheets, they may all go under. This doesn't mean there isn't a need for an Ice Cream Shop, there just isn't enough of a demand for four. This would be a great time to look at where the gaps are in your area.

2. Consumers typically slow down on new purchases, which means when an item breaks they are more likely going to fix it then spend the extra money to buy a new one. If you are a handy at repairing items, you may want to set-up a repair shop. It was just reported last week that sales at repair shops have increased every month the last year when all other stores were declining in sales.

3. Become the affordable alternative. Many consumers are loyal to a specific restaurant, store or type of business. However, when times are tough and the consumer starts to cut back they are more likely to jump ship and find a less expensive alternative to meet their needs. If they are use to spending $25 for dry cleaning and can get the same quality for $20 they just may change their dry cleaner.

4. It's a great time to pick up really good talent. If you are starting a business where you need to hire staff, now is a great time. There are a lot of layoffs at corporations and small businesses closing during tough times. This is a great opportunity for those hiring to pick up top talent at lower wages. You can now afford to hire the College graduate whereas before you had to settle for someone who just completed their G.E.D.

If I haven't convinced you yet that now is the time to start your own business, then you may just be one of those people who I run into daily that says - "I have always wanted to start my own business - but have always been afraid it's not the right time." They've been making that statement for years and will continue to live with regret they didn't make the move and decide it is the right time "now".

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