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Four Businesses You Can Start During A Recession

September 22, 2011

Although it seems counterintuitive, a recession is actually a great time to start a business. The many good arguments for hanging a new shingle for yourself right now include the reduced cost of starting up and the ability to find good, available talent. Still need more? Many businesses are looking to cut costs, and part of cutting costs means looking for new suppliers. If you can provide a product or service less expensively than the competition, you have a good chance of picking up some new business.

None of the four businesses here require specialized training or licensing, but you can always benefit by seeking out an online business degree to help keep your new business on the right track.


Business Consulting: This is a great opportunity for executives and mid-level managers who may have many years of practical experience, but who have been “downsized” or forced to retire early. It’s also a great way to remain active in the workforce between jobs or following retirement. Business consulting also provides the opportunity to pick up new skills and valuable experience for people still planning to re-enter the workforce. An added benefit: the startup costs are low because consultants need little in the way of equipment or office space.

Real Estate services: There’s a booming opportunity for support services related to real estate right now. Everything related to real estate, including property management, repair work, landscaping and lawn care services, home staging, and locksmith services are in demand. One of the latest opportunities: “trash-out” services, which remove the contents of foreclosed homes and perform basic cleaning after the bank takes possession of a property but before the home is listed for sale.

Trashing out a home requires a lot of physical labor, but not much else. Home repair – including repairing drywall, painting and restoring a home to saleable condition – is also in high demand, but those services typically require licensure and insurance.

In January 2011, RealtyTrac, an online real estate transaction analysis firm, predicted that the number of home foreclosures in 2011 would top the 3.8 million foreclosures that occurred in 2010. While it’s too early to make predictions for 2012, housing experts are suggesting that a recovery in that sector may be as far off as 2014.

Light Catering/Lunch Delivery: If you have a flare for making lunches, you can start and operate a lunch delivery business. This service appeals to businesses who want to offer a “dine-in” option for meetings and special events as well as private schools that may not have hot-lunch capabilities. Several franchise options are available for those looking for a turn-key business, or if you have the requisite skills, you can start your own operations. Catering businesses notched a 9% growth rate in 2010, and similar growth rates are expected for 2011 and 2012. If you go this route, you’ll be required to play by the rules of your local health department, but no special licenses are required.

Event organizing: Event organizing is a great way to earn a little extra cash if you’ve got the skills. From birthday and anniversary parties to garage and estate sales, event planners are in demand. If you’ve set your sights higher, consider more upscale event planning: charity events like auctions, benefits, golf outings, and dinners, wedding receptions and corporate meetings are just a few of the areas in which you can specialize. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for event planners will grow faster than average through 2018.

Pulling off a large event requires exquisite organizational skills, attention to detail, a calm demeanor and the ability to think creatively and quickly! There’s no special licensing required and if you’re good at what you do, you’ll get plenty of repeat business.

Pamela Round is a freelance writer who enjoys various lifestyle industries including art, education, and fitness. Pamela is passionate about learning and believes education is one of the things that keeps people moving forward in life.

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