How can a recession result in business growth?

Creative destruction, disruptive evolution, and survival of the fittest

Now that the world is facing the global challenge of COVID-19, many small, medium, and even large businesses are wondering how to cope with the economic consequences that are already a fact.

The business environment will, undoubtedly, have to walk a long way before “going back to normal.” But is “back to normal” the only option we have? Is it truly the best one? Or could we, just for a second, assume that something good might arise from the recession that we are fiercely trying to hold back?

Renaissance came after The Plague. The Industrial Revolution came after the Civil War. And we are here with a shoutout to all business owners and decision-makers: Don’t go back to normal. Evolve.

What is creative destruction?

Creative destruction” is a fascinating concept, thoroughly examined by the renowned Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter. If we try to match his idea to a piece of literature, it should be precisely the moment when Treplev shouted: “But we need new forms! New forms are necessary; otherwise, it’s better to have nothing at all!

Put simply, Schumpeter’s theory implies an interconnection between the abolishment of an old-fashioned approach or technique and the development of a new, more sophisticated one. That is how CDs killed audio cassettes. That is how laptops replaced desktop computers. That is how digital media outperformed printed newspapers.

So, what are we trying to tell you? That now is a great time to let go of some obsolete practices and optimize to the fullest. If the recession puts your back against the wall - tear down the wall. Digitalize your enterprise. Reinvent your business perspectives. Redefine your marketing, advertising, and brand management means. Realign your teams and departments. And, at the end of the day, let this challenge become a great adventure.

Disruptive evolution, the survival of the fittest, and business growth

The disruptive evolution is, by definition, preceded by a massive disturbance in everything normal, generally accepted, and effectively working until a certain point. This cultural and economic split can come as a result of significant global events such as natural disasters, groundbreaking scientific breakthroughs, or, well, COVID-19.

For the business, disruptive evolution means changing your ways and modifying your company behavior in times of force majeure. It means acting immediately, once after your “routine” is interrupted and realigning overnight. Whoever does it - survives and moves on to the future; whoever refuses to accept the new reality and adapt to it - stays in the past, having nothing better to do than regretting their business failures.

That is precisely what Darwin once described as “the survival of the fittest.” His theory of evolution suggests that not the strongest species survive, nor the biggest ones - but the ones that manage to adjust to what nature has to offer. The ones that discover a way to “hack” living, or invent it themselves. So, the very same can be applied to the business environment at this very moment. In essence, you will either find a way to answer the current needs of your clients or keep on offering things that are utterly useless right now, just to mourn over the results later.

Easier said than done, you might say. And you will be absolutely right. Because no one ever said it would be easy. What history taught us, though, is that it will be worth it.

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