Global Recession Survey: Survival Tips and Business Opportunities

The global economic recession is spreading gloom and despair everywhere. But the human spirit cannot be easily defeated. Many are trying hard to cope with the crisis. Bloggers are offering survival tips to their readers. Businesses around the world are adjusting. They are adopting new strategies; some are even profiting from the crisis. In this post, I will try to mention numerous examples of individuals and companies exerting their very best to overcome the recession.

Surviving the recession

Frank Coelho de Alcantara from Brazil believes that in times of crisis, some cry while others sell tissue. To survive the crisis, he advises everyone to be innovative:

Inove. Melhore o que já existe e venda. A crise só existe para os que choram e compram lenços.

Innovate. Improve those things that already exist and sell them. The crisis exists only for those who cry and buy tissues.

Evandro Sudré, another Brazilian blogger, emphasizes the need to cultivate an “inner strength and resolution reservoir” during hard times:

Problemas e adversidades fazem parte da vida diária, mas quando a crise nos atinge, é bom ter alguma reserva de força interior e resolução. De fato ter algum tipo de reserva na mente, da qual possamos formar um plano básico de ação e defesa com a qual possamos lidar com a situação. Você é a pessoa mais qualificada para ajudar nesta situação.

Problems and adversities are part of our daily life, but when we are hit by a crisis, it is good to have an inner strength and resolution reservoir. In fact, it is good to have a reservoir of some sort in our mind, from which can make a basic plan of action and protection to deal with the situation. You are the better qualified person to help yourself out of this situation.

But there are those who are too overwhelmed with money problems that the only solution they could think of is to commit suicide. For example, more than 70 cases of suicide were reported in Gujarat, India involving diamond polishers who lost their jobs.

Others have chosen to fight. Investors (mainly in Antigua) who lost their money after U.S. billionaire Allen Stanford was charged with investment fraud banded together and formed a coalition to recover their wealth. The Stanford Victims Coalition issued this statement on their website:

Stanford Victims Coalition is an international advocacy group dedicated to fighting for the recovery of the billions of dollars belonging to the thousands of innocent people who are affected by the alleged fraud of Stanford Financial Group and Stanford International Bank in Antigua. SVC is not affiliated with any political group and there are no membership fees for victims to join.

In Brunei bloggers are criticizing bankrupt individuals who wanted to receive surplus funds from zakat collections. The paying of zakat, one of the pillars of Islam, is an act of giving up a percentage of one's wealth to the needy. Many were surprised that Bruneians with big credit card bills, automobile loans, and personal loans attempted to tap the zakat funds.

The recession is affecting the physical and mental health of many individuals. In Singapore gym and yoga studios are overcrowded since many want to release the economy-related tension; and those who have been retrenched are now spending more time on exercise. Singapore was the first Asian country to be hit by the recession last year.

Homesickhome, a worker in Qatar, discovered that the financial crisis can somehow solve shopping addiction.

Kapital, a Bulgarian weekly asked its readers how the crisis is affecting them. Simeon Djankov summarizes the results of the open forum

I read the answers to-date and found some expected and some unexpected things.

Rents went up, as few people can afford mortgages; several small businesses said their larger rivals are in such trouble that there is more opportunity for them; stopped watching TV (as the news is so gloomy); less social divide – the nouveau rich are only nouveau now; more time to read; take more interest in the rest of the world. My personal favorite: find economics more interesting.

Business adjustments

What are some the adjustments implemented by the business sector in response to the global crisis?

Instead of reducing the workforce, some companies in the Philippines are adopting shorter workweek hours. Because of low occupancy in their buildings, some landlords in the Manila are lowering the rates for office space. A Japanese company in South Korea used its savings and accumulated profits over the years to protect the living of its workers.

Fiji’s business leaders succeeded in pressuring the government to postpone the minimum wage increase promised to the country’s workers. They warned that the increase would force more layoffs and shutdowns. This is bad news for the labor sector.

Roshni Mahtani, founder and editor of, suggests these cost-cutting measures for small businesses

1. Give Up Office Space. Monthly Savings: $1,500
2. Go Open Source. One Time Savings: $4,000. Monthly Savings: $100
3. Skype! Monthly Savings: Between $100 – $150
4. Interns. Monthly Savings: $500
5. Virtual Meetings. Monthly Savings: $100
6. Scale. Monthly Savings: $300
7. Incentivizing. Monthly Savings: Between $750 to $1,000 per sales staff.
8. Partnerships. Monthly Savings: $100 – $150
9. Save The Trees (And Money). Monthly Savings: $200
10. Social Media Marketing. One Time Savings: $2,600

Total Monthly Savings: Between $4,500 – $5,000 a month
Total One Time Savings: $6,600

Michel Monteiro from Brazil writes about the campaign launched by retail chain Ponto Frio: Customers who buy from the store will now have an insurance in case they are made unemployed, free of charge, covering the value of their purchases.

O interessante é que essa ação tem como enfoque a atual crise economica, e em seu anuncio busca tirar o temor que existe nas pessoas de comprar e não poder pegar, o que gera queda nas vendas. Assim, o consumidor poderá voltar a comprar, e fazer o dinheiro movimentar a economia.

Mais do que uma inteligente proposta de marketing, a ação é um serviço ao país, pois – de forma inteligente -, faz a economia nacional girar capital, e consequentemente manter níveis de venda, empregos, etc.

The interesting thing is that this practice focuses on the current economic crisis, and this advert aims to diminish people's fear when it comes to buying and not being able to afford the payment, which leads to a drop in sales. Thus, the consumers may start buying again, and this will make the money circulate in the economy.

More than a clever marketing idea, the practice is a good service to the country, because – very intelligently – it makes money circulate in the national economy, and consequently, it maintains high levels of sales, jobs, etc.

Russia's “Financial Crisis Toilet Paper”. The label reads: What is to be done? From the blog of Notes on Moscow

Russia's “Financial Crisis Toilet Paper”. The label reads: What is to be done? From the blog of Notes on Moscow

Business opportunities

There are companies which continue to earn profit despite the crisis. Some of them are even benefiting from the crisis.

In Japan some of the profitable businesses today are the following: small and medium companies which process and sell parts of raw materials, fastfood outlets, e-commerce service providers, pachinko industry (gaming device).

Chikara Ueki from Japan shares a conversation with an entrepreneur about turning the crisis into an opportunity



By changing one's perspective, this crisis which it is said happens only once every hundred years can be seen as a chance that only comes along once every hundred years. This may be said about all the industries, including those which are in dire situations.

However, as this case shows, it didn't just come out of nowhere. It is a reward for a long period of steady efforts.

Philippine Airlines increased its service in several countries which blogger Caswell Whiteside interpreted as a sign that more and more retrenched Filipino migrant workers are now returning home

Recently Philippine Air Lines began a service every day to Canada and the US whereas up until now service had been limited to four days a week in some cases, depending on the destination. Of course PAL played it up as being ‘new and better service’ to the public while in reality it is to facilitate the number of Filipino workers who have been laid off by their employers in several countries throughout the world, mainly Japan and the US and are returning home.

Part of Thailand’s stimulus plan covers the distribution of checks worth 55 US dollars to every low-income worker. The beneficiaries can use the checks to purchase store items in McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut and 18 other major business outlets in the country. KFC even awards 20 pieces of free chicken to stimulus beneficiaries who exchange their checks for store coupons.

Every Woman’s Blog agrees with a condom maker who observes that people buy more condoms during recession because they wanted to prevent pregnancies.

I believe there is a lot of truth and logic in that. During difficult and uncertain times, people do not want to be caught unprepared with an addition in the family which will mean more financial burden on them.

Douglas Muir expects a sharp drop in birth rates in the world, especially in the countries of Eastern Europe.

Back to basics

Because of the recession, some are learning to appreciate the basic laws of doing business like providing first-rate service to customers. A Brazilian popcorn seller has won recognition for his creative ways of doing business. He has already given many lectures on entrepreneurship.

Agriculture is popular again among Japanese youth and celebrities as more people search for economic activities that have stronger foundations than the financial sector. Kamiyama Yasuharu notes that the agricultural boom has become an interesting keyword in Japanese society today.

Cambodia reaffirms its reliance on agriculture to promote economic growth. A Lao economist believes that the “agriculture-based, self-sufficient nature” of the country’s economy will protect Laos from the global financial crisis. The economist added

People who live in industrialized countries live in fear of losing their jobs because they can’t grow vegetables and raise animals as people can in Laos.

In Jamaica, leaders of 21 private sector bodies have formed a pact of cooperation to offset the impact of the worsening global economic conditions. They have re-learned the value of creating a “social partnership dialogue” between the government, opposition, labor, business and civil society.

The thumbnail image used is from the Flickr page of suburbanslice. The Portuguese text was translated by GV editor Paula. The Japanese text was translated by GV editor Scilla.


  • Great article and tips, the recession is a man made mistake, it could have been avoided with proper foresight by our so called world leaders. Lets hope the current heads of state bring back the good old times, when you didn’t have to keep worrying about your job or money.

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  • This is one of most truth revealing write I ever read. Thank you. Reality always hurts. Hidden realities by the big banks and nations are also to be blamed. As I work among the rural poor communities through Self Help or Community based small business groups I am fortunate to undrstand the hard realities of the poor.

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