12 Smart Ways To Find Business Opportunities During A Market Downturn

While a stock market downturn is not necessarily a sign of an impending recession, depression or crash, it can have a significant impact on an otherwise stable economic landscape. In turn, this can affect people’s ability to secure employment, launch their companies and find potential business deals.

Fortunately, with the right strategies, you can still find—and sometimes even create—opportunities for yourself and your business despite a dip in the market. Below, a panel of experts from Forbes Coaches Council provide tips on how and where to look for such opportunities.

1. Double Down On Areas Of Future Growth

One tactic companies use during a stock market downturn is to initiate a share buyback to invest in itself. Similarly, during a downturn, entrepreneurs should look for opportunities to invest in themselves in areas such as product development, research or talent development. While competitors are retreating, double down on areas that will allow your company to accelerate when businesses do bounce back. – Kelly Huang, Genesis Advisers

2. Invest In Your Business, Customers And People

When the market drops, opportunity knocks. When there is a downturn, people get skittish and companies make cuts, causing service levels and customer loyalty to fall. Those conditions are ripe to steal market share. A downturn is one of the best times to invest in your business, customers and people. It may feel scary, but if you don’t attack when everyone else is retreating, someone else will. – Brad Federman, PerformancePoint LLC

3. Understand The ‘Why’ Of The Downturn

Understanding the “why” of a market downturn will help you source opportunities for growth. Those opportunities can come from two sources. One is through opportunities that have been downgraded and are a good deal. Alternatively, what kind of demand is being created based on the shift? For every downturn, someone is experiencing an upturn. – Kimberly Janson , Janson Associates, LLC


4. Take Advantage Of Change

If your focus is on the macro ups and downs of the economy or the ebb and flow of stock market fluctuations, it will drive you to distraction. Almost every downturn presents an opportunity to take advantage of change and win. Look at the growth of companies such as Zoom and others like it in the last two years. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.

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5. Prepare For Downturns During Periods Of Stability

Making hay while the sun is shining sets you up to make more hay when the clouds arrive. All systems evolve and are cyclical, including the stock market. To take advantage of any market downturn, you must prepare now while you have the stability to plan, organize and direct your strategy. Creative disruption is transforming all industries, and the opportunities will be abundant across the board. – Jon Michail, Image Group International

6. Understand People And Their Fundamental Needs

When money and investment leaves one area, it always goes to a new area. Watch for new areas of growth and identify what people will need to support it. With any change, identify the fundamentals people always need, then ask how you could make their experience of acquiring the fundamentals better. Understand people better, and you will see opportunity in any shift. – Bobbie Goheen, Synthesis Management Group

7. Speak To Your Stakeholders To Gain Insight

Speak to your stakeholders (customers, shareholders and suppliers) to understand their pain points from the downturn and map them to your existing capability and resources. There could be a very natural and complementary pivot waiting to happen that some brainstorming armed with insight can unlock. Be clear on whether this is a short-term or long-term change, as there are risks to be considered too. – Arthi Rabikrisson, Prerna Advisory

8. Look For Diamonds In The Rough

With the stock market in a downturn, you should look for opportunities in companies that have a great product and message but poor management. These types of businesses are much easier to turn around, especially when the product and message are great. Find a business that hasn’t been able to capture the e-commerce market or adapt to the hybrid model and help them do this. – Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience

9. Analyze Your Company’s Perspective

Every crisis, including a downturn in the economy, is an opportunity to change our perspective about previous beliefs and assumptions. For a business, it could be identifying a new market, new product or new service. It can also be the opportunity to change our internal operations to build stronger teamwork, clarify priorities and expectations, and improve communication to survive the downturn. – Mark Samuel, IMPAQ Corporation

10. Study Market Patterns To Identify Opportunities

It is important to understand the specific reasons for the downturn and the dynamics that led to it, then identify the real opportunities that emerge as a result. Conducting an adequate study of the market patterns could uncover a smart opportunity to pursue. – Ruth Simone, Luminare Coaching & Consulting

11. Take Action And Take Chances

The foundations of success are laid in a downturn or crisis. It is the moment of chance, when agile companies take action to help people with fresh, new ideas to overcome the crisis. You won’t get excessive returns simply by doing what everyone else is doing. A crisis shows who has a vision and who is just a greedy imitator. Sell on good news, buy on bad! – Michael Thiemann, Strategy-Lab™

12. Focus On Your Unique Value Proposition

Focus on your unique value proposition and competitive advantage in the market. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, but rather focus on providing the best, highest-quality product or service that you can to your customer, and innovate and expand in that space. If you focus on what you do well, you will have a chance to navigate the messiness and ride out the storm. – Jonathan H. Westover, Utah Valley University & Human Capital Innovations, LLC

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