During an economic downturn or recession like the one we experienced a few years ago our survival instincts urge us to cut down on spending. This in turn impacts negatively on business owners, some to a greater extent than others.
Those businesses that somehow keep thriving during such times can be described as being recession-proof.
While there are some obvious examples, looking at the situation from another perspective can help you to identify even more ideas for your startup.
Think about the new lifestyle changes that people adopt in order to cope with salary cuts, loss of employment, change of work status from full-time employee to independent contractor, and so on.
Generally, there are four traits that can help you to identify a recession-proof job or business idea.
- A business that provides essential/critical products and services – Here you can think about healthcare provision, pharmaceuticals, education and tuition, plumbing services, etc.
- A business that is clearly positioned – Here the focus is on businesses that have a strong competitive edge over others in their industry niche. Such competitive edges may be based on effective pricing, excellent customer service, superior expertise, etc.
- A business that keeps abreast with technological and social trends – The most obvious of such businesses are the ones that provide IT solutions, communications and access services, etc.
- Businesses that will always sell despite the economy – Such businesses don’t really feel the pinch because what they offer is essential. Restaurants, liquor stores, debt collectors, and the like, fall into this category.
Now therefore, what are some of the recession-proof business ideas you can start making money with?
NB: For some of these business ideas selling online is now the way to go; here are some handy tips about how to go about doing this.
1. Internet marketing
Reading the profiles of some of the blogging industry’s most iconic names you might be surprised to know what these guys were doing before they became big.
Before getting started you’ll want to get acquainted with web traffic optimization. You can then proceed to earn money by doing what you love, say running a fashion advice blog or offering content writing services.
There are indeed a slew of jobs available online for freelance specialists and you can make good money offering some of these in-demand services.
2. Food and beverages
Not surprisingly, people kept eating and drink during the recession years…hey, was there an option?
Nevertheless, your decision to start an eatery must be carefully conceived and implemented. After all, just like in any other business, there are plenty of risks to consider.
Making your restaurant’s theme a fit for today’s healthy lifestyles may be a good place to start. A restaurant that promotes healthy eating can do well in recession times because people will identify with the need to reduce consumption, stay healthy, and cut down on unimportant purchases. The “stay healthy” theme will also work well for a restaurant that serves organic food products or another that targets vegetarians.
If you don’t fancy running a restaurant then you might as well consider starting a food catering business.
3. Selling cosmetics
Regardless of the poor state of the economy you can bet that every lady will always try her best to look gorgeous. A man will grumble and mumble about how unnecessary spending on beauty products is but the mere memory of how beautiful the woman he loves looked during an unforgettable date will be enough reason to make his thin wallet a tad poorer.
The impressive sales volumes of nail polish and mascara in recession-hit 2009 is an apt example of a cosmetic business’ viability.
4. Providing laundry services
To avoid looking shabby and unkempt people will always want to wear clean clothes. This is why starting a laundry business is an idea that makes so much sense and cents.
It’s hardly complicated.
You just need washing machines, dryers, pressing irons, detergent, a good team and effective word-of-mouth advertising.
5. Candy store business
Somehow, our liking for candy surges during economic recessions. Not surprisingly, Nestle and Cadbury reported 11% and 30% profit rises respectively in 2008.
6. Alternative healthcare services
People interested in the healthcare business but lacking the requisite credentials to offer primary healthcare services, say opening a general medicine practice, can still make good money in alternative healthcare.
There are plenty of other options too. How about designing healthcare software, supplying medical equipment to practices, repairing and maintaining medical equipment, etc?
7. Provision of wedding services
However gloomy the times are, a nicely organized wedding will always help to ease people’s worries, albeit for several days.
The scope of business ideas in this niche is quite varied. You can think about becoming a wedding and honeymoon planner, offering wedding photography and video recording services, designing customized wedding invitation materials, designing bride and bridal party gowns, offering wedding catering services, etc.
8. Selling baby products
Babies will always be born; baby products will therefore always be in demand.
Whether you decide to sell baby wear, toys and gear, baby products like oils and powders, etc, the potential for profitability will always exist.
You can also opt to offer allied services like babysitting (and daycare services later on).
9. Running a funeral parlor or offering funeral-related services
Successful undertakers are a unique breed. For them special days like holidays and anniversaries don’t really exist.
Why, you ask.
It’s quite simple.
Everyday people are always dealing with the demise of family members and friends.
As the proprietor of a funeral parlor you will need to respond to the requirements of bereaved people day and night and get the job done; all this while maintaining the desired quality of service and empathy.
Providing this service definitely makes for a viable idea – the industry was worth $15.9 billion in 2013.
Apart from being an undertaker, there’s also money to be made in funeral-associated jobs including providing cremation services, making caskets and coffins, designing epitaphic tombstones, etc.
10. Selling beer, wine and liquor
Don’t expect people to stop drinking when times get tough. They’ll simply ignore the pricier options and guzzle down the affordable stuff.
During the recession some interesting observations were made in support of this stance. In 2009 bar revenues and restaurant sales of wine by the bottle dipped drastically. Nevertheless, wholesalers of beer, wine and liquor enjoyed good business. Restaurants also saw a rise in sales of wine by the glass.
11. Property staging
The work of a property stager is to ensure that a house which is to be sold off looks the part. Basically, you, as a property stager, need to advice the seller on how best the things in the property must be arranged and presented in order to maximize the likelihood of making a good sale.
For starters, you need to have a keen sense for style, décor and detail. Next, you need to make a name for yourself. Making acquaintances with real estate agents and independent sellers is a good place to start.
This business can really thrive in recession times. We can all recall the many property sales that characterized the aftermath of the property market’s fluctuation.
12. Virtual assistance
Becoming a virtual assistant is yet another viable business idea that has resulted from increased internet access. This will be a worthwhile option for you if competent administration and organizational acumen are your forte.
Opportunities abound for such persons considering that many companies, in a bid to cut down on operational costs, are retrenching conventional assistants and instead outsourcing the position to qualified persons around the world.
If you are one of those who have been retrenched then making the switch shouldn’t be too hard. After working with several clients you may even think of training and then hiring others with the aim of expanding your business.
13. Tutoring and coaching
This is especially applicable for people who excel at teaching or instructing others, be it in academia or other skills e.g. playing the piano. If you also can coach/train players in soccer, tennis, baseball, or indeed any other sport, there is money to be made by turning your skills into a business.
14. Pet care services
The love that people have for their pets doesn’t wane even when the times get tough. The reason is simple – for some people, having a pet helps to soothe them through hard times.
Accordingly, pet care service providers enjoyed soaring business during the recession years. Additionally, the low cost of business setup was a boon for service providers, as was the large target market – estimated at at 65% of Americans.
Veterinary service providers also enjoy good business from pet owners. Industry estimates for 2014 put the figures at $15.3 billion.
15. Tax accounting
You’d be wrong to assume that during recession business owners’ start doing their own bookkeeping in an attempt to lower operational costs.
It was business as usual for tax accountants during the recent economic slump. The reason is quite interesting – business owners were keen to get maximum refunds while avoiding any errors that would prove costly.
16. Thrift stores
People will carry on shopping during an economic recession but instead of doing it at elite shops like Nordstrom they will opt for thrift stores.
The numbers tell the story. In 2008 just 14% of Americans shopped at thrift stores on a regular basis; this rose to 20% in 2012. The country’s premier thrift store company, Goodwill, reported a 10% rise in sales volumes annually between 2007 and 2011.
So, do you have a passion for selling secondhand goods at affordable prices? Why not set up now? You may be just in time for the next recession – they do say we expect one roughly every six years or ten years, right?
17. Security services
When times get tough many people become desperate and frustrated. Eager to make quick bucks, many people resort to various forms of crime. Burglary is especially prevalent in these circumstances; with the exception of unexpected benefits.
In response to the threats posed by perpetrators of the vice, homeowners and proprietors of valuable establishments, commercial or otherwise, hire the services of security firms. Of course, these services are always in demand even when the economy is thriving.
18. Garbage and/or waste collection
Keeping your house free of garbage and waste remains a priority every day of the year.
This is therefore a business idea you can implement – if you don’t mind the dirt, variety of unpleasant aromas, and the typical low regard many people have for this job. No worry, no one will look down on a garbage collection firm successful CEO.
19. The sale of contraceptives
Having sex is a natural urge that must be fulfilled.
Procreation is not always the agenda though. For this reason people will always purchase contraceptives, be they couples, young adults or teenagers.
As the owner of such a business an economic recession will be the least of your worries.
20. Repair services provision
Whatever the economy looks like there will always be business opportunities for repair experts.
However much you hold off on having your broken window panes replaced, your leaking roof re-tiled, your car’s gearbox replaced, or your blocked pipes and/or sinks unclogged, you’ll eventually have to pay someone to make things right.
If you have the training, skills and equipment required for offering repair services in or more niches you might as well set up shop now. Using word-of-mouth you should soon get a few clients; make a good reputation by offering top-notch services and then keep growing.
There are lots of other recession-proof ideas. How about some suggestions from you?