How to Start a Business in a Recession
Bob Guccione, Jr. began his career at the age of 18 in the UK where he became Britain's youngest-ever publisher. A year later he returned to America and launched the monthly music magazine, Rock Superstars, making him America's then youngest-ever publisher. In 1985, he launched SPIN, the enormously successful music magazine that usurped Rolling Stone as the dominant pop culture magazine for 18-24 year olds. In 1997, Guccione sold SPIN to Vibe Ventures and in 1998 launched Gear, a young men's lifestyle magazine, which closed in 2003. In October 2005, Guccione completed the acquisition of science magazine, Discover, from Disney and formed Discover Media, LLC. In the two years Guccione ran the title before stepping down as Chairman in December 2007, the magazine returned to profitability. He is now helping launch a new luxury lifestyle magazine in New York called Prestige New York.
Guccione: You know, truthfully, no one benefits from starting in a down market. But if you are starting at the time of the down market, it’s probably because your plan to start earlier and this is the point of launch. I would not abort the launch. I’ll go forward. Because at that point, you’ve created something based on passion, instincts, probably good information, or at least very good instincts, and you should just keep going. What will happen is, the beginning will not be as easy. It is somewhat offset but, yeah, you get talent that perhaps will be available. But whatever you’re doing, as long as you have real passion for it and as long as the people you do business with see that passion and are intoxicated by it at its ultimate, then you will succeed. It will be harder in the beginning. It’s a bumpier takeoff. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s too bumpy and you crash, and hopefully you walk away from the crash and go build another plane. But, I think, it’s not like it’s a better time to launch, it’s also not that terribly much a worse time to launch. It’s just a bit of conventional wisdom, which is always, by definition, utterly short-sided. Everybody thinks, “Oh, this is a terrible time to launch.” I think, there’s no such thing as a terrible time to launch if you have the right idea for the right time environmentally and societally. I think you just have to work a bit harder. But then when you take off, you’ve actually probably conditioned yourself to be a bit tougher than the people around you and you will probably have a better business fitness level and do particularly well. Spin launched in, as I said, a time equally bad to today. People will remember this 1985 was just awful, absolute advertising recession, bit of a quasi or quite, you know, well-rounded economic recession. We had very few ads in our first year but then went on to be a great success and usurped Rolling Stone in the 18 to 24 market, wiped them out, wiped the [Details], everybody. We’re number 1 but far. But a few years earlier, everybody was writing as off as going to die. You know, we were too stupid to know that it was a great probability, but so we kept going.
Bob Guccione, Jr. says starting a business in a down market can build healthier business fitness.
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