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5 Surprising Businesses That Flourished During a Recession

Amid the speculation and uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, check out some thought-provoking ideas that you probably had not considered.

History of Financial Downturns

  • The Great Depression and market crash of 1929 was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world with 25% of the US workforce unemployed in 1933.
  • The severity of the Great Depression becomes especially clear when it is compared with the next most severe recession, the Great Recession of 2007-2009, when unemployment peaked at less than 10%.

Recessions Create New Breed of Entrepreneur

Many experts believe the current Covid-19 scare will be temporary, which points to a myriad of opportunities. Here are five of the richest business fortunes ever, each of which was either created or really took off during a financial downturn:

  1. George Jenkins quit his driving job at Piggly Wiggly grocery in 1930 and started his own, Publix Super Markets, when many an abandoned urban storefront was taken over for a neighborhood grocery. With $29 billion in sales and over 1,000 stores in the southeast, his family fortune is now $5.2 billion.
  2. Brothers Ernesto and Julio Gallo started crushing grapes and selling wine at 50 cents a gallon, half the market rate at the time in 1933. The Gallo family now owns the world’s largest wine-maker, E&J Gallo, worth $9.7 billion.
  3. William Procter and James Gamble started in 1837 selling soap and candles and diversified with many other products. When inventories started piling up in 1930, instead of throttling down advertising to save costs, they decided to appeal to the homemaker by making radio serials with charm. Thus was born the “soap opera.” The company’s assets are now over $115 billion.
  4. John Marriott started with a root beer stand just two years before the crash of 1929. He stuck with it in the food industry and shifted into hotels in 1957. The conglomerate has amassed the Marriott family an estimated $5.7 billion.
  5. Andrew Mason started Groupon in 2008, rounding up people to buy the same product in order to receive a group discount (“group” plus “coupon”) on his e-commerce platform, becoming one of the fastest growing shopping platforms ever, bringing in $1.2 billion last year.

The Key Lies in Having the Right Mindset

In times of uncertainty and economic downturns, people panic. The panic is fueled by almost everything one sees online and on the news. In this state of alarm, most entrepreneurs and businesspeople are prevented from focusing on identifying business opportunities. Clear thinkers are choosing to plan ahead, rather than panic, at this time. We have experience handling business planning during sharp economic downturns!

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