The recession will never end : adapt or die

We are almost 5 years into the current recession with no clear end in sight. Most of us have started ignoring the “we’ve bottomed out” rhetoric and just accept that it simply won’t ever be like it was before. In that sense, we’ll never actually leave the recession, it’s simply another phase of development in business. That, for me, is quite comforting and also quite exciting. As we evolve the way we do business and the way we spend money it turns up lot of opportunity. Opportunity is the fuel of innovation and business start-ups. Ignoring the opportunity or, worse still, waiting for the recession to end (it won’t) is the fast track to commercial suicide.

Understanding that this is not a classic recession ala the great depression (yet) is the first step in how to address the issues. Yes, we classically have low growth and bunch of other economic indicators that match previous recessions and it’s true, the world has broadly come to a startling stop. It’s also unlikely ever to turn so quickly and so out of control again, at least not in the conventional boom-bust cycle we’ve seen over the last 20 years.

A read an article about Digital Darwinism recently and as part of the blurb I read a rather humbling statistic: “Over 40 percent of the companies that were at the top of the Fortune 500 in 2000 were no longer there in 2010.” This reminded of a Forbes article published a year ago that started with “The End is Near: Why 70% of the Fortune 1000 Will Be Replaced in a Few Years.”. The article went on to quote a study that stated between 1973 and 1983, 35 percent of the top companies in the Fortune 1000 companies were new to the list. Over the next decade from 1983 to 1993, churn jumped to 45 percent, and then soared again to an astounding 60 percent between 1993 and 2003. If the current trend continues, over 70 percent of Fortune 1000 companies will turnover from 2003 to 2013.

At this rate of change it will become the norm for companies to blossom, grow quickly and die – all in a period of less than 10 years. That’s pretty scary to some, it still makes me reel a little bit when I think how hard I’ve worked in business over the last 15+ years to get this far. The answer, as ever, is the ability the evolve and adapt to new market conditions and technologies.

So, get your brain working and think of new ideas; ideas that people might want. Today is a great day for a new start.