The Great Recession Inside the Beltway: Evidence from Interviews with Business Leaders

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Purpose- The goal of this study was to understand how the economic climate during the United States Great Recession affected businesses in the heart of the recession. Methodology - Fifteen interviews with CEOs, Presidents, and Founders from the Capital Region were conducted in order to determine how businesses were affected during this time period. These leaders represented companies which ranged in size from new start-ups to established small businesses to hundred-million dollar plus companies. Findings- The data suggests that economic repercussions from the Great Recession was not distributed evenly among businesses in this region. A pattern emerged that showed that two general types of companies felt the repercussions differently. Companies selling predominantly to the private sector navigated the financial crisis by being focused on cost-reduction of either their own operating costs or of their products and services delivered to their clients. Whereas, companies selling predominantly to the federal government were largely insulated from the Great Recession. Conclusion- The findings suggest practical implications for business growth include cost-reduction of operations, price reductions on their products and services, and expansion into the federal public sector. Rather than looking at economic downturns as a negative for the small business, small businesses can creatively outmaneuver these downturns with the aforementioned methods.




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