Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is Recession An Opportunity for Entrepreneurship?

The global recession has thrown several challenges to world economy. With the collapse of Leyman Brothers, an investment banker, there is jittery across the world to overcome the challenges of slowdown. Is it an opportunity or a threat for entrepreneurship? Let us find out.

Every economy is like a cycle where there will be peaks and troughs. The present situation is a reflection where we are heading for trough. It is a matter of time to recover the scenario to set for peak. Whenever any economy is overheated it needs cooling off. Like a human body needs a breathing space after a long marathon, the economy also needs fresh oxygen to set into motion further.

It all depends on the mindset of the people how they view the present scenario. The situation is not as bleak as depicted by media. No doubt, there are challenges for changes in the present economy trends and policies. When we recall the Great depression started in America, it comes to our notice that many companies evolved during such tough times. Sam Walton grew in America during the great depression. He sold newspapers to support his family. He developed the right attitude to handle customers. He learnt the psyche and pulse of the customers. Subsequently he started his retail venture Wal-Mart. Financial hardships toughened and taught him many lessons. It paid him off in his later life evolving as a retail giant. Similarly the Second World War brought massive destruction to mankind but led to several inventions and innovations resulting into comforts and luxuries to mankind. The current global meltdown has not adversely affected India as of now but the pinch of it will be felt shortly. But it provides several opportunities to set up enterprises at this time and a few them evolving as entrepreneurial giants like the Sam Walton.

In the past also, the dotcom bust of 2000 led to setting up several internet companies resulting into huge success as on today. Companies like Hyatt, FedEx, GE, Hewlett-Packard in overseas and companies like Wipro BPO and Mindtree in India were born in a slowdown. Besides, Spectramind was born during the peak of dotcom bust in 2000.


Current meltdown is an opportunity for entrepreneurship. Management guru CK Prahalad says, “The poor represent an opportunity, a source for innovation”. Majority of Indians live in villages and there are 6, 00,000 villages where huge potential is lying untapped. Indian rural market is like a sleeping giant and if woken up and tapped properly it opens the floodgates for consumer demand. Hitherto, companies focused on urban market buoyed by the swing of IT, ITeS and knowledge sectors. It is time to shift the focus and tap rural Indian market by providing tailor made products and services. Besides, there are several other sectors which were neglected and untapped till now due to the quick gains from Knowledge sectors.

Recession and Entrepreneurship:

According to Prathap C Reddy Chairman, Apollo Hospitals, “3Ps – purity of purpose, patience and persistence – are needed to succeed in India.” And he adds that “Entrepreneurs must aim for ideas that impact the lives of others, and are accessible to all.”

Do you like to control your destiny or allow others to control your destiny? If you want to control your destiny and are a brave hearted then entrepreneurship is the right answer.
Recession is an excellent opportunity for the laid off people who hitherto had been in their comfort zones. They need to reinvent themselves, explore and experiment entrepreneurship and evolve as entrepreneurs. Since laid off people took a spin in the orbit as employees their experience and expertise can be utilized up to the hilt for reinventing themselves as successful entrepreneurs.

Talent is cheaper and the opportunity costs are relatively lower during recession. Look at the existing gaps in products and services through extensive research and then proceed setting up the business plan for execution. Recession will change consumer preferences. The start ups should smell the changing preferences and evolve business plans accordingly for viability and feasibility. In this process, they can approach the experts in the domain for their comments and feedback on the business plan. They may also take a mentor who charges nominally who guides and glides to smooth entrepreneurship. The mentors are experienced and will tell the intricacies and issues involved in setting up business. They will tell the nuances of entrepreneurship.

Mentoring for Entrepreneurs:

“Mentoring is not about popularity. The mentor’s crucial role is to question, to push back, and to open the recipient’s mind to alternate possibilities.” Says Nandan Nilekani, Co-chairman, Infosys.

Mentors are directors, angels are producers and entrepreneurs are actors. And consumers are the people who take benefits of entertainment out of this entire entrepreneurship. For the success of any enterprise, it is necessary to have a mentor who is experienced and who shares his practical experience and knowledge with budding entrepreneurs and who shows the right path for successful ventures. A right mentor builds skills, abilities and moulds the right attitudes for entrepreneurial success. Whenever the entrepreneur faces problems the mentor comes out with solutions based on his experience and expertise. You can not become crack shot unless you lose ammunition. Here is the mentor who has become a crack shot by losing lot of ammunition.


Entrepreneurship is the process of providing profitable solutions to the prevailing problems. Finding out the need and filling the same is the most challenging aspect of entrepreneurship. Identify the triggers for the projects, check for feasibility, look for availability of all resources, think out of the box and proceed. Start in a small way and test your waters. But dream big and have firm convictions that you will succeed as an entrepreneur. Build a strong team. Look at the big picture and keep your safety net ready. Be passionate, persevere and persistent till the end.

It is very unfortunate that India with a billion plus population could not produce proportionate number of entrepreneurs. Where as small countries like Finland, Germany Britain have produced entrepreneurial giants. It is time Indian government took serious note of the scenario to make the Indian economic environment entrepreneurial friendly to reap benefits out of recession.

The End

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