New Businesses that Often Succeed in a Slow Economy

by Guest Author on January 7, 2013

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) approximately 1 in 10 American adults (aged 18-64 years) are currently taking active steps to create a business. Virtually all are doing so because they want to (or see an opportunity to do so) rather than because they have no alternative economic opportunity. Few would argue that these are challenging economic times, however, less competition for customers and lower marketing costs in a slow economy can help some new businesses thrive.  The following list includes businesses that often present good opportunities for success in a slow economy:

Computer Repair
Computers are everywhere in our personal life, professional life and in all facets of society. When they break, they need to be replaced or repaired which is what makes the computer repair business a viable opportunity since it does not depend on whether the economy is good or bad. In 2006, Alex Chamandy opened his own computer repair store, which he operates out of his basement in Arlington, VA. One-third of Arlington Virginia Computer Repair‘s customers come directly from a larger chain after not getting their problem solved.  

Cosmetics Sales
Cosmetics are an affordable expense that can help us feel good when times are hard. Online and mail-order sales are expected to rise as cosmetics makers add new sales channels to keep pace with diversifying purchasing methods. With start-up costs of $18,000, Maureen Kelly started Tarte Cosmetics in 1999 out of her one-bedroom apartment in New York City. Her marketing tactics include appearances on QVC and a loyal online following. Kelly put up $18,000 to start the business and, in 2008,

Debt Collection
Debt collection is not a career choice for the meek and mild tempered but if you have the right personality to do the job, it is a business that generally does well during economic downturns. Bills and can pile up and go unpaid which creates the need for debt collection agencies. You can consider the option to work from home as an independent contractor as well.

Internet Marketer
Leading-edge Internet technologies are in demand. Companies realize that they have to be in touch with what customers want and be capable of providing competitive analysis. Internet marketing is becoming more and more important as people comparison shop and purchase items online which is one reason why it’s a good business in a downward economy. The Internet Marketing Ninjas, a company founded by Jim Boykin, grew from humble beginnings. Originally named “We Build Pages,” Boykin and his team (now 100+ in-house employees) have used their knowledge and expertise to become a lead link building agency.

Staffing Company
When people lose their jobs, they often turn to employment agencies or job search firms. Most entrepreneurs that start a staffing company come from within the industry. Defining a specialty staffing area (such as accounting, finance, admin/clerical, light industrial, healthcare, IT, or professional areas) can be the key to your success. Define your market, know your strengths, find a suitable funding source, and continuously network. If you are a “people person” with a lot of industry contacts and a knack for matching out-of-work employees with potential employers, then this type of business might be a good choice for you. EdgeLink focuses on technology staffing and has done what few other staffing companies are able to do: landed a spot in Inavero’s 2011 Best of Staffing™ Client list. Best of Staffing, presented in partnership with CareerBuilder, is the nation’s only satisfaction award that recognizes exceptional client service within the staffing industry. Fewer than 1% of North American staffing firms have been named to the 2011 Best of Staffing Client List.


Many people turn to mediators rather than attorneys in tough economic times to settle disputes simply because they are less expensive. If you are a skilled negotiator this may be the business opportunity that’s perfect for you. Lakeside Mediation Center has grown exponentially in just a few years, now having mediated over 10,000 disputes, trained over 4,000 mediators, coordinated over 400 arbitrations, and published books and articles about mediation and conflict resolution, which have been acclaimed both nationally and internationally.

Pawn Broker
A pawn broker takes merchandise as collateral on a loan, albeit a loan with exorbitant interest rates. It takes a unique individual to become a pawnbroker and pawnshops are typically businesses that do well during recessions. Pawnbroking offers an excellent opportunity for both degreed and non-degreed individuals to go into a rewarding and pleasurable career. Every day is different and it’s a continuous learning experience. Many pawnbrokers in history have become highly educated individuals through on-the-job training and practical educations based on real-life experience.

Security Firm
Security firms are doing a booming business, but the security business is not just about security guards. It can also involve performing security and background checks for employers. Extensive law enforcement, military, security, or business management experience is often required. To increase your chances of success in the security guard business take courses in criminal justice, either in an associate’s degree program or a certificate program. Dogwatch Security Limited, based in the UK, has found its niche: canine crimefighters. Keith Hall began the business in 2007 and has since landed several contracts patrolling schools and businesses at night. What’s more, because he works with dogs, he’s able to offer his services at a highly competitive rate. He just has to be sure to provide plenty of dog treats.

Web Entrepreneur
You don’t have to be a computer geek to become a web entrepreneur; all you need is a good idea or product. You can create a website yourself or hire a web designer to do it for you. Learn to take advantage of the available resources and build your product to be as complete as possible before seeking financial assistance. Kyle James, owner and operator of, an online coupon website, has found huge success through commission-based marketing. His site has been featured on the likes of, Readers Digest and L.A. Daily News.

Running a business is very challenging — dealing with customers and clients, products and staff and more. Before you begin your startup venture, the most important thing to do is to consider all of your options and whether or not you really want to be in business for yourself. Speak to others who have done it themselves for a good idea of what to expect.

About the Author:
Patty Whelan is a seasoned copywriter with significant experience producing original content in all facets of online and offline marketing communications, with specialties in all aspects of Search Engine Optimization copy writing. Her work has covered a broad range of topics for varying industries and has been published in print and electronic media. The focus of her current work concentrates on the electronic payment processing industry and small business resources.

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