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Good Things About a Bad Economy

Estimated Lesson Time: 4 minutes

It is tough at times during a recession (oops... slow economy) to be so positive and upbeat in the presence of others who are obviously affected by such times. While I do sympathize, I also believe we live in our own little worlds, and we can choose to focus on the negative or the positive; the choice is ours.

Since the beginning of existence, there have been times of abundance and times of deficiency. It is important to remember that this is cyclical and times of deficiency do not and will not last. It may not feel like it, but as sure as the spring will follow the winter, prosperity, and economic growth will follow recession. Remembering this single fact alone can completely change your outlook on life.

An economy is only “bad” if you perceive it that way. A bad economy can be and is, good for many people. What is so good about a bad economy?

  • Cleansing of the market. A slow economy is a time of metamorphosis—like the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. It is a time when stupid financial mistakes catch up to investors, and they ask themselves, “What the heck was I thinking!?” It is a time of both learning and growing. But most of all, it is a time when businesses are put to the test and have to prove what they are really made of. As prospects are few and far between, the market will decide, by an almost Darwinian process, which businesses will survive and which will perish. To the business person, this means fewer competitors. To the consumer, this means a higher quality selection.
  • Improved service levels. Whether you are in business or not, a slow economy seems to be a positive jolt for all in a service related business. From the plumber who returns your call promptly, to the vendor that goes the extra mile to keep you satisfied, companies begin to realize how valuable your business is and, therefore, treat you accordingly.
  • Low and negotiable prices. Believe it or not, there is balance in the economy. When times are tough, merchants reduce their prices to stimulate sales, just like the Fed lowers the reserve rate. Merchants understand that there is less money being spent, so in response they lower prices. Their vendors understand this as well, so the merchants get lower prices and so on. The key is to know to ask for the discounts or the “special deals.” Ask your credit card company or your bank for lower interest rates, call your phone company and ask for lower long distance rates. You will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
  • Good help is easy to find. During a time when a large number of people are without work, or even just looking for extra income, it is easier for an employer to attract qualified help. 
  • Being your best. Some say slow economies bring out the worst in people. While certainly in some cases that may be true, I happen to believe that slow economies bring out the best in people. For many it is a time of reevaluation—a time of reflection where changes are made to become a better person. People learn new skills or brush up on existing skills. The same holds true for businesses. For businesses, this means improving products and services, creating new products or services and streamlining operations.

The benefits of a slow economy can be summed up with one word: opportunity. Think positively. Keep in mind that prosperous times are ahead. As a consumer, you have the upper hand; it is a buyer’s market. And as an employer you have the upper hand; it is an employer’s market. Most of all, remember the old saying, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.


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    Bo Bennett, PhD
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