5 Businesses That Started During A Recession

AAA

Is there a perfect time to start a business? Conventional logic may dictate that starting a business during times when the economy is faltering may not be the best idea, but history bears plenty of evidence that businesses can find solid footing even in the worst of economies. Here are a few of the world's best known companies that got their starts when the economy wasn't at its best.

Microsoft

The recession of 1973 to 1975 saw a Harvard dropout named Bill Gates start a small company in Albuquerque, N.M. that specialized in developing computer languages. Microsoft's first blockbuster product, MS-DOS, went on to power IBM computers. Today, Microsoft Windows and Office products are found on the majority of computers. That, along with its many other products, results in more than US$77 billion per year in revenue.

FedEx

FedEx was incorporated in 1971 as Federal Express, but didn't begin operations until the 1973 recession. Federal Express was born from a Yale term paper written by Frederick Smith who believed that a company devoted to fast delivery to cities of all sizes was a valuable niche company. He started with 14 aircraft, deliveries to 25 cities and 389 employees. Today, FedEx has 628 aircraft, over 90,000 delivery vehicles and more than 300,000 employees resulting in US$40 billion in annual revenue.
 

General Electric

General Electric was founded in the depression of 1873 by inventor Thomas Edison, creator of the incandescent light bulb. The depression saw half of the nation's railroads declare bankruptcy and half of the country's iron furnaces shut down. What was started by a single investment bank shutting down led to what is now called a panic, but Edison opened a small laboratory in 1876 that would later become General Electric. Today, GE has more than 300,000 employees and a cash hoard of more than US$88 billion.
 

Revlon Cosmetics

Revlon, one of the best-known cosmetic companies in the world, was founded in 1932 during the Great Depression. Brothers Charles and Joseph Revlon introduced their opaque nail enamel to the world, which sparked a business that became a multi-million-dollar enterprise in only six years. Revlon now generates more than $1 billion in revenue each year and employs 5,200 people worldwide.

Hyatt Hotels

Opening an upscale hotel in the middle of a recession doesn't seem like the best of ideas, but Hyatt Hotels did exactly that when Jay Pritzker purchased the Hyatt House motel next to Los Angeles International Airport in 1957. That recession lasted two years. Today, Hyatt Corporation operates 524 properties in 46 countries and employs about 50,000 employees. Hyatt's 2012 revenue totaled US$3.95 billion.

Conclusion

Some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world were started during a recession. From GE in the 1800s to FedEx in the 70s, these businesses are still holding strong today. While many people may think starting a business during an economic downturn is a bad idea, these corporations have proven that it isn't always a bad thing.

  1. No results found.
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Tips For Recession-Proofing Your Portfolio

    Do you know what to do when the economy stops cooperating? Learn how to recession-proof your portfolio.
  2. Insights

    Top 4 Things To Know About The Last Double-Dip Recession

    The financial media and investors are haunted with the prospect of a double-dip recession. We look to the past to see if a double-dip recession is in our future.
  3. Insights

    Industries That Thrive on Recession

    Find out where to turn when looking to invest in a tumultuous market.
  4. Small Business

    Top 6 Reasons New Businesses Fail

    Running your own business may be the American Dream, but it's become a nightmare for many entrepreneurs. Learn how to avoid the most common factors leading to bankrupt businesses.
  5. Insights

    The World's Top 10 Economies

    The United States has been the world's largest economy since 1871, but China's growth may soon position it as the leader of the world's top 10 economies.
  6. Managing Wealth

    Top 6 Recession Investing Myths

    Find out the truth about recessions and how they impact your portfolio.
  7. Investing

    Adapt To A Bear Market

    Learn how your portfolio should evolve to suit bear market conditions.
  8. Managing Wealth

    3 Reasons To Not Sell After a Market Downturn

    Find out the reasons that it is not a good idea to sell after a market downturn. There are lessons to be learned from the last major market downturn.
  9. Investing

    Don’t Panic When the Next Bear Market Happens

    Take advantage of the next bear market and watch your investment in great companies grow.
  10. Investing

    Bear Funds: A Bullish Stance On Bad Times

    Even if the market is in a decline your portfolio doesn't have to be.
Trading Center