Five great things about being CEO in a tech recession

Hard times are here, break out the champagne.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

It would be easy to come up with a list of why the current downturn sucks. In fact, who needs a list? You can feel it in your bones. But a lull in any battle, or economy, can be an opportunity for those with the foresight and resources to press it. And we're not talking about lame cracks like the traffic getting better. Here are five genuinely good things about the current tech economy. Which ones will you be able to take advantage of?


1. The downturn will kill off your most annoying competitors
You may be in a crowded market now, but you won't be for long. Companies are going to fold in this downturn. Less competition from silly companies that aren't playing by the rules of good business means you can focus more on your product and on getting your message straight compared to the remaining competitors that really do matter.

2. You can hire cheap
See No. 1. There will be unemployment. The job market will change from a seller's market to a buyer's, which means you'll be able to hire better people cheaper. Maybe not so good for them (be sure to salary up when things improve). But good for you.

3. You can lay off at will
Unhappy with your organization as it is? Worried about the effects on morale of shutting down that experimental project you keep in a corner? Worry no more! While a year ago layoffs might have been seen as desperation play and thus acted as a staff morale killer, if you do judicious layoffs today the remaining staffers will be glad to see you trimming the fat so they get to keep their jobs. Plus, it will get your investors and board members off your back.

4. Your customers will cut you some breaks
Users and customers who like your product are far less likely to give you hard time about minor flaws in your service. If they like you and want you to stay in business, they'll understand that you have to focus on the core of your operation, and on generating revenue, to stay afloat.

5. Whatever doesn't kill you...
Yes, it's true. Tough times focus you on what really matters. You will have to spend the majority if your time on revenues, customers, and product, and far less time on offshoot projects and handholding nonproductive employees. On the other side of this economic phase--if you make it there--you will have a better company.

Related: "CEOs get paid for vision and holding to a budget."