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From layoff to launch

This downturn is fostering robust small businesses. From layoff to launch This economic downturn is fostering a robust small-business community. By Maggie Biggs

Since the beginning of this year, many of my long-time friends and colleagues have directly experienced the effects of the current economic downturn. Whether you call it layoffs, downsizing, resizing, or what have you, losing one’s job can have a significant effect on your outlook and your pocketbook.

Just last week, two more of my colleagues–one an experienced IT architect and the other a senior-level editor–also lost their jobs. These are not unproductive folks, and they were not working for dot-com companies. The economic downturn is spreading, and it doesn’t seem as though it will turn around anytime soon.

You might think that all of this is just a lot of doom and gloom, but the fact is that these current events may hold a solid silver lining. We may well be on the way to shaping a new breed of entrepreneurs and introducing an economic rebound that will likely begin in the small-business community.

During the last downturn in the 1980s, people focused on retraining and using newfound skills to land a fresh start. During this cycle, advances in technology seem to be leading many to opt for a different response to the situation–namely, starting their own small businesses. Unlike the dot-com companies, these folks are not intent on getting rich quick, but rather on surviving in a down market. They are developing solid business plans and working slowly but surely on growing their new companies.

This is a real plus for existing small-business leaders. Many of those starting up new businesses now are experienced, reliable, and eager to grow their companies. Talk to folks in your community this week. Find out who is new on the local small-business scene that might be a potential partner.

Partnering with others during these tough times will help your company grow while also helping new small businesses prosper. Will the next economic upturn have its roots in the small-business community? I think so. Do you agree?

Contributing Editor Maggie Biggs has more than 15 years of business and IT experience in the financial sector.

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