Recessions: Your Outlook is Everything

I have been through two significant recessions as a business owner. Neither one went the way I expected them to.    

During the Great Recession of 2007, I thought my business and the industry we served were immune to the downturn. That was true for almost a year, but the bad economy eventually caught up to us and almost knocked us out for good.  

During the Pandemic Lockdown of 2020, I thought we were about to be dealt a fatal blow, but it actually launched our largest expansion and most profitable era to date.   

Point is; in the business world, none of us can be certain of what’s to come. Recessions will happen and parts of the economy will shrink and others will grow. All we can control is how we react. 

In 2008 when business slowed significantly for 18 months, I reacted like it was over for us as a company. It was the wrong response. Instead of connecting with the companies that were reacting positively to the downturn, I felt sorry for myself and essentially waited on the sidelines.  

In reality, many of the companies we served were actually growing and recognized the Great Recession as the time to scoop up the best talent.  People tend to stay in their jobs during downturns out of a need for stability and safety. As such, third-party recruiters seeking out candidates are often the catalyst for career moves during economic turmoil. Companies required us to engage those candidates and we weren’t paying close enough attention to realize how much we were needed.   

Founder and CEO of Evoke Group Reid Connelly was someone who took advantage of the Great Recession. He made some key hires during that time that positioned Evoke to grow significantly during and after the downturn. He told me, “We really didn’t notice the downturn. We actually grew and found some amazing people during that time.”   

You’re better served reacting to changing economic conditions by focusing on your business fundamentals. Showing up every day committed to moving things forward is the key to not only surviving but thriving. You may need to work harder and longer, but keeping a positive outlook, looking for the silver lining, and just plain showing up will make a big difference in how you weather economic storms.   

Depending on how your business is positioned in a downturn, it might even be a great time to expand into new markets, add capability, or go after top talent for critical positions. We have seen talent upgrades across functional areas, adding folks with a new skill set, company acquisitions, and leadership upgrades as strategies during downturns. This focus shifts things from business as usual to being better positioned for the future.  Recessions can be an exciting opportunity to rebuild a company into a better version of itself. It takes a positive outlook, a vision, and a commitment to seeing that vision through to make that happen.  

Whether a recession hits in the next few months or the next 18 months, and whether it will be deep or shallow, rest assured I will show up every day and put the work in. I will stay positive and look for the opportunities presented. My team and I will be on the phone every day making connections and introducing great people to other great people. We will focus and do what we do the same as any other day.  

I would love to hear your thoughts on how you are navigating the financial news these days.  

[email protected]


Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash



Sign up our newsletter to get update information, news, insight or promotions.

Ciera is a born-and-raised Duluthian who recently graduated from Point Park University in Pittsburgh. When she isn’t designing the Salmela website or sending emails, she doubles as an actress! With over 15 years of acting experience, Ciera brings her creative artistry and understanding of people to her work at Salmela.

Madison is a marketing maven with a mastery of magnificent messaging. She brightens every room with her positive attitude and joins Salmela to explore the digital corners on every search. If you’re having a first conversation with one of us, Madison is probably the reason why!

Ryan is an Emmy-award winning news producer with a strong history in the performing arts. Funny and outgoing, he’ll meet you with a journalist’s curiosity and actor’s joie de vivre.

Meghan brings her previous advertising agency experience to Salmela. She is a natural-born conversationalist and delights in every interaction with candidates and clients alike. Meghan can find something in common or a shared interest with just about anyone. (No really, it’s AMAZING.) She is also a foodie, loves cooking, and is always looking for the next opportunity to try an adventurous recipe.

Kate joins Salmela after a decade of non-profit arts leadership, where she shared her passion for building community, education, inclusiveness, and arts access. Her superpower is helping professionals identify their strengths and set them on a course for greater success. After work, she can be found reading Shakespeare, doing yoga, or prepping the next generation of theatre stars for college.

Cory spends his day advising senior leaders on talent acquisition strategy. He is happiest on his bike, skis, or helping his daughters rehearse lines. He began his career as a National Team Coach for the U.S. Ski Biathlon Team, followed by experience in pharma sales. In 2005, he founded Salmela. Today, Salmela places leaders across the healthcare industry. Salmela is the go-to vendor across marcomm disciplines in healthcare and beyond.

Chief Financial Officer, Olympian, and Health Coach, what can’t she do? When Kara is not managing the Salmela Financials, she spends her days educating and supporting people as a health coach. If that wasn’t cool enough, she also competed as an American biathlete at the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics.

Megan focuses on individual career wellness and team development for the healthcare advertising industry. As a natural networker, and with a career background in health/wellness and international corporate project management, Megan has the experience necessary to understand your needs. She enjoys being outside with her family, volunteering in the community, trail running and practicing yoga.

Recommend To A Friend

Click where to share