30 Big Companies That Started During Hard Times 2

I got this list from the Kaufmann Foundation. These are all companies that started up during a recession or down stock market.  They’re in alphabetical order.

Adobe Systems
Bath and Body Works
Buffalo Wild Wings
Dave and Buster’s
Electronic Arts
Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Exxon Mobil
General Electric
Johnson & Johnson
The Learning Company
Lotus Software
O’Reilly Auto Parts
Pizza Hut
Princeton Review
Southwest Airlines
United Technologies
Urban Outfitters
Whole Foods
If you look closely, you’ll see some that started during the Great Depression, some during different recessions that followed. There are several generations of startups here. What I like about this list is that these are companies that lasted. They didn’t fail to start because times were hard. They may have had a harder time getting financing or slower initial sales than they might have had during a boom. But they still started up, and they made it.If you’re trying to start a company today, or struggling with a recent startup, companies are still making it. I posted last week about the Trunk Club dealing with rapid growth despite the crash. The blog startupmeme lists several new startups a week; sometimes several new startups a day.Focus on value: giving people something they want or need and can pay for.

If you can’t get funded, that doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily start that business. Just review your plan, focus it tighter if you have to, and think about bootstrapping.

About the Author Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry. Follow Tim on Google+ Read more »

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  • http://trunkclub.com Joanna Van Vleck

    My thought is that in down times, people actually have to answer a need or a question, which brings about a better business. In good times, people are looking to make more money and don’t always answer a need.

    Can’t wait to see the list from this down time in about 5 years!

  • http://slowdave.com slowdave

    I believe that starting a business in down times can have some positive attributes. It forces one to be very disiplined fiscally, search for alt. resources, and be very creative.