Unemployed? Not Sure What to Do Next? Thinking of Starting a Business? – Read This First
In the midst of a deep recession with millions of people being a laid off, there are some businesses that are growing and even thriving. The industries that these businesses are in vary greatly but the underlying principle for success is the same. The businesses that are thriving today are able meet a market need. Generally, these businesses offer consumers products or services that are: always in demand, may capitalize on current economic conditions, are trade oriented, have found new markets for their services, and unfortunately businesses that take advantage of the unemployed.
This article offers some areas where success can be found but also highlights a few areas where people need to adjust their expectations or are being mislead. It is part description of opportunity, missed opportunity, humor and social commentary. However, before you dismiss the examples, think of how you might do something different to change your financial outlook.
Below are some category breakouts and examples with obvious or somewhat humorous reasons for their success. The opportunist will realize you do not need an advanced degree to succeed in life. Many of the people least affected by the economy are tradesmen and many business owners I know have limited educational backgrounds. Now I understand, why my mother always told me to learn a trade and have a back-up plan.
· Products and services always in demand for consumers:
o Food: grocery stores, bakeries, agriculture, (everyone has to eat)
o Sanitation Services – (self explanatory)
o Water – (bottled or otherwise)
o Cheap alcohols – (Even during the great depression people always drank)
o Movies – (people need relief from the stress)
o Adult entertainment services – (needs no further explanation)
o Funeral services –( people still die)
o Tax professionals – (death and taxes – where have I heard this before?)
o Medical processing – industry is switching to paperless – opportunities are huge
o Internet access – Perhaps this is the newest utility
o Utility companies (electric, water, telephone)
o Primary education – (despite budget cuts teachers are needed).
o Insurance – (often the first to get cut from the family budget but a must have for business owners)
· Products and services that capitalize on the on the current economic conditions:
o Auto repair – (could also be placed in the category above)
o Used car sales – (this is a long standing and thriving industry)
o As unemployment increased people that had benefits hurry to use them before they run out. Many practitioners have seen a dramatic increase in business traffic. **
§ General Practitioners (MD’s)
§ Other medical professional practices
o Divorce Attorneys
o Repair services – (fix when money is tight vs. buy new when things are going well)?
o Self-help seminars, books, goods
o Garage sales
o Auction services
o Cheap manufacturing
o New applications for existing products and services (Blue Ocean strategies)
** The irony here is that many medical professionals have seen a decline in business because they had limited their business by declining to do business with insurance companies such as HMO’s and/or specific insurance carriers etc. As result, many practices have seen substantial declines in business and others struggle wishing they had better hindsight.
· Products and services that are trade oriented and consumer based (not new construction)
o Plumbers – (do we really have a choice if we have a leak)?
o Bartering – (bazaars and flea markets enjoy the moment)
o HVAC – (air conditioning is a must have in many parts of the world).
o Handymen (women)
o Pest control
· Services taking advantage of the unemployed
o Educational Institutions ***
o Training Centers **
o Gambling services
o Debt and credit services
o Loan Sharks
*** The decline in economic stability has led many to the false belief that going back to school will ensure their finding new employment. I see far too many institutions advertise that a degree will virtually “Guarantee” a better future. This would be especially true for Advanced Degree programs such as an MBA. Two main reasons this is untrue:
1) If you are returning to school make sure you understand that student loans are debt that usually cannot be included in bankruptcy claims. Make sure you check the job placement statistics for the institution. There are a lot of unemployed MBA’s and other professional degreed job seekers on the market. You may end up in even greater financial distress.
There is a reason for this. The vast majority of jobs in the past and the future are created through small businesses. Successful small business do not waste money on degrees, they want to know what you can do for them. Good hiring professionals look for energy, attitude, specific skill sets and the ability to get the job done. The exclusiveness and prestige of an MBA was lost decades ago. In other words, be prepared to bring something else to the table to demonstrate your uniqueness and skill set.
2) Advanced degreed people too often believe that “The World Owes Them a Living”. The world does NOT owe you anything; your future must be earned! Going back to school is pointless unless you have the ability to make changes in yourself and your expectations.
It may seem a little harsh, but as the proud owner of two advanced degrees, the positions and work I have done in the past had little to do with my education. Allow your passions to help create your future but balance the career objective with the reality that you will “flip burgers” if you have to, in order to survive. Trades may not be glamorous but they provide a living.
On the positive side, look again at the areas that provide opportunity. There is always opportunity; you just have to look a little deeper than the next person. A recession is a great time to start a business. Please read my other blogs starting with “The Role of Passion”, How to Start a Business with Very Little Money, Idea vs. Opportunity.
In summary, if you have found yourself unemployed, think you are in a hopeless situation, cannot seem to see a positive path then look again. See the positive, see the opportunities surrounding you, change your perspectives, and realize that people, can and do survive difficult times. Think intelligently, globally and make decisions based upon the long term future.
If you are seeking advice on beginning a new business be sure to read “The Role of Passion” and visit our website at http://www.theentrepreneursadvisor.com for ways in which we can guide you.