While there are many industries resilient to the ebb and flow of the economy, the majority of small businesses can be defined in some way as cyclical—or reliant on the general economy. When the economy takes a dive, many small businesses tend go with it.
At the same time, a poor economy tends to scare and, in most cases deter many potential business owners away from opening their own company; though, it shouldn't.
However, I am living proof as the CEO of a recruiting company whose bottom line is very dependent on the hiring fluctuations both in the U.S. and abroad, as well as the general health of American business. Because of this, running an executive search firm in today's economy required a new thought process and approach to business. While other staffing firms are and have been going under or downsizing immensely, my company is currently hiring and leasing additional office space.
How am I able to do this? Below, are four rarely discussed tips for those aspiring to successfully open any business in today's economy:
- Avoid negativity. As the owner of an executive search firm, you think that I would be glued to the job reports every week. It is quite the opposite. I don’t have time for bleak news. We have broken internal recruiting records on the same days as horrific job numbers were reported. I know that as the CEO, if I don’t remain positive, I risk the negativity spreading through my subordinates. I’ve learned that the key is to stay around positive, upbeat and successful people.
- Follow your passion, no matter how bad you think the industry may be. When choosing which business to start, you must only consider those industries that truly interest you regardless of how badly they may have suffered. Many young entrepreneurs make a big mistake by letting the current economy decide what type of business they should open instead of the other way around. Good economic conditions are always helpful to the success of a business, but a favorable economy pales in comparison to a passionate CEO.
- Regardless of the unemployment rate, good employees are hard to find; appreciate them. Some companies that come to us think that they can get employees on the cheap simply because the jobless rate is high. Reality soon sets in. Exceptional employees are still exceptionally hard to locate, procure and retain and. Despite the economy, the talented are not going to work for free or on a discounted rate. When you find the right employees, make sure you pay them well and do not allow the current economic situation to justify you treating them with anything less than absolute respect.
- Keep a stiff upper-lip. Entrepreneurship is hard; it is often frustrating and, just when you think you have everything in place, a setback comes your way. The current economic conditions do add to the frustration, but you can't let outside factors determine your success as an entrepreneur. When things don't go your way, it is imperative you keep fighting. A bad economy is no excuse for an entrepreneur to quit fighting. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.
Despite the current economic conditions, now can still be a great time to start a business. As young entrepreneurs, we can't wait for another economic boom like the late 1990's, we must create an economic boom for our generation. After all, the economy is reliant on us more than we should be reliant on it.
Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement who founded his executive search firm after skimming a random staffing book purchased on a whim from the entrepreneurship section of Barnes & Noble. He is also a member of The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth.