It’s August 1981 and you are looking to purchase a new home. You head down to the local bank and, after speaking with the loan officer, you grasp your chest, start breathing heavy and ask for an ambulance.

The loan officer just read the terms and conditions of your loan agreement including the 21% interest rate! No, that is not a typo. This was what became known as the 80’s recession.

Imagine buying a home and having to pay almost $1800/month toward interest on $100,000 home! Now imagine starting a home building business in the midst of this recession… that’s what Wally Mah, owner of North Ridge Development, did!

“You’re crazy!” was a phrase that became very familiar to Wally. Having a stable government job, making a good living with benefits, Wally decided to start a company building homes. Having some experience and success building homes on the side, he decided to leap in and take on the challenge full time! In 1983, North Ridge Development Corporation was born and has since grown to become Saskatchewan’s largest home and land development companies.

Wally proved that a determined entrepreneur can defy a slow economy and experience business growth.

We often “buy into” the lies that are served up by the government and media. FEAR of a recession. FEAR of an economic downturn. FEAR of more taxes and less income.

The average person listens to the media, swallowing the lie of “hard times ahead” because it comes from a “trusted source”. Almost immediately, the average person withholds any additional spending and puts on hold any future projects with a “wait and see” mentality..

In the same situation, an entrepreneur grabs the bull by the horns and sees it as a huge opportunity for business growth. They go with their heart and avoid the naysayers.[quote cite=’Ryan Boutin’ align=’right’]Some of the greatest gains and opportunities in business happen when the economy is suffering.[/quote]

My best definition of a recession is when people and businesses stop spending, and it happens because of fear of the unknown. The moment we “shrink back” out of fear of the unknown, we hinder the growth of our business. Taking strategic steps in a slower economy can help you defy recession.

Here are a few ways that businesses can grow in a slower economy:

1. Power to the employer.

When things are booming and jobs are everywhere, employees tend to “run the show” because they know jobs are easy to come by. When there is a shortage of jobs, you will pay less in wages and benefit from a greater selection of potential employees with more skills and a better work ethic. When things are slower in the economy, it’s a great time for building a stronger team!

2. Things are cheaper.

Find lower cost goods that benefit your business. A great time to invest in new products, equipment, manufacturing processes, and more. A recession is a great time to purchase real estate or expand and renovate, benefitting from lower-cost trades and materials.

3. Out of the box business growth.

A slow economy forces entrepreneurs to think outside of the box, innovating techniques, methods and ways of creating new wealth by expanding products and services.

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The Author

Ryan Boutin

Ryan Boutin

Entrepreneur and Marketer, Ryan is driven by a passion to help people grow their business. As CEO of Zeal Media Inc, a web development and marketing firm located in Saskatoon, Canada, Ryan's mission is simple; Implement custom strategies to launch small businesses to drastic growth. With a vision to reach more people, InspireCast was born.

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