Starting a business during a recession

Paul McEldon
Paul McEldon, Chief Executive at North East BIC

It’s been said many times over the last few months that we find ourselves in unprecedented times due to Covid-19. When Boris Johnson announced the lockdown measures back on March 23, millions of business owners and entrepreneurs were sent into turmoil as they scrambled to keep their businesses afloat.

With so much uncertainty, we’ve been amazed to see our local businesses pivot their business models, adapting quickly and finding ways to thrive, playing a vital role in our community.

So what about those who were in the process of starting up? Will aspiring entrepreneurs still make their dreams a reality or will their ideas be put on the backburner?

As a business support organisation, we questioned how lockdown would impact those with ambitious ideas, but it’s safe to say that tough times really do prompt fresh, innovative thinking and despite the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of people seeking our support to take their idea to the next stage.

And it’s not just the traditional businesses coming forward, social entrepreneurs are keen to maximise their social impact too.

But is it really a good time to start a business?


History shows that many successful businesses including Uber and Airbnb, started during a downturn or recession and while economic uncertainty is never a desirable situation, for those looking to start a new business, now could be a good time to do so.

In some cases, these difficult economic times can lead to new problems and therefore present an opportunity for entrepreneurs to find a solution to current needs. The lockdown has allowed people more time to think and to try out some ideas they may have already had in the pipeline. They may have spotted a gap in the market, have developed a new innovative product, or have a hobby that they’ve been able to expand in recent months. Personal experiences or unemployment can also play a key factor when considering self-employment – in some cases it’s a necessity.

Whatever the motivation, developing a strong business plan at the very beginning and regularly adjusting your strategy based on performance, the market, and consumer behaviour is necessary for your business to succeed.  If you can build and grow a business when consumer confidence is down during difficult times, your business will thrive when things improve and the market recovers.


The path of an entrepreneur isn’t always easy no matter when they’re starting out and all businesses benefit from external support from time to time. An independent opinion, an expert adviser, someone to help simplify and speed things up.

As a social enterprise ourselves, we’ve been providing expert business support for the past 25 years, helping thousands to start up, grow and achieve their goals faster. The BIC’s social purpose is to strengthen the local economy by helping businesses to grow and thrive and we’re dedicated to finding and encouraging ethical and sustainable ways of doing business.

Are you an entrepreneur with the seed of an idea for a new venture? Are you an existing business looking to transition to a social enterprise? We’ll help you cut through the jargon and navigate the support options available to you. With us by your side helping you to do the right research and the proper planning, you can do it.

Want to kick start your journey now? Get in touch on 0191 516 6111 or request a call back.

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