The Opportunity During Tough Times


We fear that Wall Street is still spiraling out of control, our economic system might in total chaos and the sky  might be falling as well. While I find myself very concerned about our financial future, there’s something about a shake down in the way we do business that excites me. In my experience, difficult times for the business-as-usual approach always opens up new opportunities for creative, nimble and entrepreneurial organizations or individuals to find a break that fat, entrenched and risk-averse big business cannot or will not pursue.

I started The A Group in November of 2001, a few weeks after 9/11. Most people thought I was crazy because of the overall fear and paralysis in the marketplace. “Boy, I hope you’ll be ok; these are difficult times,” I heard over and over during the early days. And they did represented the reality of the day. People were looking around waiting to see what the tragedy really meant for our economy, our businesses and the future of our lifestyles.

But while everyone waited for the proverbial “what’s next,” I was able to negotiate a great rate on an office space lease. Due to the overall fear in commercial real estate at the time, my landlord was willing to accept less money for the space as well as take a risk on an unproven, immigrant-owned, start up since his other prospects were suddenly gone.

During that time the work force also swelled up since hiring slowed down tremendously. I was able to cherry-pick our first “Groupers” [a Grouper is a member of The A Group team and, no, they are not fishy] at reasonable salaries. I was also able to secure great payment terms with our strategic vendors as well since they were eager to land new accounts.

The opportunity during tough times

While every crisis brings different challenges, I’m certain the challenges we face today will create new opportunities and exciting new businesses, products and ministries will be introduced by those who can quickly adjust to a new reality. If you’re able to look past what you might be losing and see how you can potentially gain, you could win big.

In days like these, I think about the story I heard a few years ago where two shoe salesmen during the turn of the century were sent to Africa to open this new territory for a large shoe manufacturer. Not long after their arrival the home office received telegrams from both men. One said “Bad news. No market here. People don’t wear shoes. Coming home,” while the other read “Amazing opportunity. No one has shoes yet. Send more people.”

I know I can’t do anything about the state of the current economy or how our government reacts or doesn’t to our nation’s challenges, but I can look beyond them and find out what hole will be left in wake of this storm for the nimble, creative and entrepreneurial guy to fill. Maybe my telegram back to headquarters will read something like: “Times are tough. Everyone needs our help. Great opportunity. Let’s expand”

What opportunities do you see right now?

  • Anonymous

    Maurilio, I can't help but look at character during times like these. OUR Character and GOD"S Character.1) Our Character. I' thinking "OUR" as being the Church. Somewhere in the latter part of the 20th century we exchanged the business of calling people to repentance and a right relationship with the almighty, we exchanged that for the ways of the world. I could get very lengthy here but I won't. I'll just distill it down to this statement. We Christians have valued friendship with the World on probably the same level as the gift of Salvation Jesus offered us. We have fooled ourselves into believing that we should be more successful at winning people to Christ as, well, Christ. I personally have more friends than Jesus had. Churches all around me probably have more people following their programs and staff people than Jesus did.His Gospel offended. Ours does not. 2) God's Character. When did God stop sending judgements? Or better yet, When did we stop believing that God stopped being jealous of idolatrous people? When our culture couldn't accept a sovereign God who had every right to be jealous when we took His blessings but refused His Son? I really do believe we are in this thing a lot further than we think. All of the Kings men are trying to put the Egg back together, and they might patch things up for a while, but the inevitable is only being delayed. The tipping point is well in the rear view mirror.-Jud

  • Maurilio–great post highlighting the tangible opportunities… I'd thought about them from a lack of competition side, but not from an inexpensive resource side.Jeff

  • I've been utilizing these last months to reinvent my own business – to take advantage and seek new opportunities – and to take some time to rest more in God's presence, thus allowing Him to further direct me.The results are not quite what I was hoping for, or anticipated. But the activity has increased and opportunities are coming from the unexpected. My desires and goals for my business are implanted in me for a reason – but really, it's all up to God as to what clients he wants for my team to serve.It's been a tough 6 months and though lots of activity, still will be a few months before any paying projects kick in. Here's the cool thing, I seem to have some opportunity in my dream area of aviation – but the pay isn't there….yet. I'm currently working on building fan base and online presence for a highly popular air racing team – all volunteer. Despite the desperate need for paying jobs, I do feel led to jump on this one area of opportunity as I believe it can open up a world of outlets – a whole world that I've longed to enter into…

  • MarkHjeffress

    Thank you for sharing your story and perspective. It’s always easy to focus on the problem and not so easy to see the opportunities. I need this. 

  • Geoff

    Honestly, I don’t see many opportunities. I’m feeling beaten down and discouraged. I pray that will get some of your optimism. Frankly, my attitude is the worst. 

  • I’ve seen time and again that hard economic times are the catalyst for entreprenuers to start something new. I’ve had the idea in the back of my head to start a marketing/graphic design business for years, but it wasn’t until the economy tanked, I lost my full time job, and now my unemployment benefits, that I realized it’s time to stop looking for a regular job and just make one myself. So I did. I’m not at the place yet where I live only on what I make through my business, but it’s growing – and it’s helping with the bills. 

    If the economy was good, I never would have done this. It’s been tough, but so worth it.

  • When people are standing around worrying about “what next?” is the perfect time to answer with your dreams.

    I’m grateful that you took the leap and God has blessed you. It’s encouraging for me to take risks and not wait around.

  • Pingback: The Opportunity During Tough Times | Face to Face()

  •  I am a big fan of your blog and have no qualms about accepting that you have created a place for yourself in the blogging world. Impressed with your skilful writing and rendering of blog posts.

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