Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Ups and Downs: A Down Economy Opens the Door for Start Ups

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” I have always believed this as a truth, particularly in these tough times.

Some jobs might have vanished in the recent Recession, but to me, creative ideas will always be with us. There are plenty of smart people out there who found themselves unemployed in the past year. Instead of trying to find work with a different company, many of them took their ideas and developed a new business.

While the news media seems to focus on corporate layoffs, they rarely report on the creation of thousands of startup companies. A down economy actually is the perfect time for the development of quality startups. People who wouldn’t have taken the chance as long as they had a steady job no longer have an excuse for not striking out on their own. A mortgage-banking friend recently told me that in regards to retail space, there are more leasing opportunities these days because of all the new businesses. These ventures may not be credit worthy yet but it’s a prospect for landlords, just the same.

Statistics back up my friend’s thoughts, showing that employment is trending toward smaller shops. According to the U.S. Small Business Association, small firms:

● employ more than half of all private-sector employees.
● pay 44 percent of the total U.S. private payroll.
● generate 6 trillion in annual revenue.

I have seen a lot of small businesses start in the past year or two. Many will succeed where larger companies fail because they are able to nimbly maneuver through the economic obstacles. Once the economy gets better, I believe these startups will be poised to thrive.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.