It may seem counter intuitive, but recessions are perhaps the best time to think about starting a new business. Maybe you have been downsized out of a great job, or maybe just stuck in place for years without a raise. You probably want to get right back to doing what you were doing before the punch bowl got taken away in 2008.
The problem is, recessions are often a time where old models of business get taken to the woodshed, possibly never to return. During these times, there is tremendous opportunity to reinvent business methods and even whole industries. Down and out incumbents are vulnerable to nimble startups with a better solution.
If you’ve been thinking about striking out on your own, now is probably the best time to do so. Maybe you’ve been deeply entrenched in an industry and know where the inefficiencies lie. Think about changes happening in your industry and create your own opportunity.
In a memorable scene in “The Social Network“, Harvard President Larry Summers advises the Winklevoss twins, “Harvard undergraduates believe that inventing a job is better than finding a job, so I’ll suggest again that the two of you come up with a new new project.”
With modern cloud based tools for small businesses, it’s never been easier to start a business. Setting up a web site, phone system, payroll, accounting, and even paying taxes, is all possible with the click of a mouse. No more expensive equipment or software to buy, set up and maintain. Just focus on your unique value to the world and make it happen!
Here are the top 5 apps we feel every small business should start with –
1) Halloo.com – Small Business Phone System (yes, we’re biased but tell us another PBX phone system that allows users to keep their existing phones and is reliable as the good old telephone line).
2) Zoho.com – Keeping track of your customers is critical and oft overlooked. Salesforce.com can be expensive, but Zoho is similar at a far lower price. They even have a free version.
3) Yelp.com – if you’re a small local business or local retail outfit, go to this website and see if you’re listed. If not, list yourself, it’s free. Paid listings start at $300/month.
4) Google Places – type in the name of your business + the name of the city. If a “Google Places” page doesn’t exist, go ahead and create one. It’s free or you can get a preferred listing for $25/month.
5) Twitter – Chances are you’re an expert. At something. Go ahead and keep tweeting your opinions and perspectives and over time (if you’re a good enough writer and expert enough) you will gain a powerful and growing audience.