BY KIRAN NADGIR
It is the longest and most far reaching recession the world has witnessed since World War II. Take any industry, Auto, Real Estate, Manufacturing, Retail, no one was spared. There have been downturns in the past but nothing that affected the entire world the way the current recession has.
So, what was the main reason behind the recession? We canít say there was one specific reason for the meltdown considering the magnitude and also considering the fact that with globalization, the economic setup has become so complex that we canít even imagine what effect a particular action of one country can have on another. There were enough reasons for the meltdown to occur though, the War, the Real Estate Bubble, Oil prices, uncontrolled spending. There were too many bad habits to name which led to the current situation and getting out of a bad habit is never an easy process, we all know how new-year resolutions go. But the good part is that people/governments have realized these bad habits, itís going to be a long process but itís an opportunity to make changes which will lead us to a better future.
Did anything good come out of this? Definitely, people are slowly relearning the art of saving money which was almost non-existent. They have realized that they donít really NEED the big SUVs (where is the Hummer now?) or the mansions. Companies have come up with new, innovative technologies &s services. People have also realized the importance of education, which is truly the best investment.
Is the recession really over? We posed the question to a few of our readers and business owners. Here are their responses:
Chand Akkineni, Founder CEO, ITJobCafe, SoftPros, Inc and SoftPro Global Technologies
: I believe that the recession ended a few months ago. We have seen a turnaround in the IT sector. Customers have started new projects and are recruiting employees and consultants. Beginning of 2011, we will see more job creation.
Ritesh (Rick) Desai, Executive VP, Eshco International, Inc., Chairman, GIACC:
Even in a down economy, Eshco International, Inc. has seen significant growth. Over leveraged real estate developers are having problems keeping their undervalued assets. I was fortunate to not stretch beyond our means and keep a consistent pace of growth. It is true to say that we are working harder for the same amount of money as we were before. W e are one of the few that were very minimally affected by the recession but ramping up efforts and increasing the potentials in the pipeline combined with an exclusive staff in China for sourcing, innovative product/service offering, great pricing, timely delivery, professional service and a great team has helped us weather the economic storm of a lifetime with ease.
Anitha Vadavatha, Managing Partner, AniMac Business Group, Director, India China and Americas (ICA) Institute:
Yes, recession has certainly impacted us both positively and negatively. Due to cautious and cost conscious clients, 2009 could be best described as a resilient environment for small and boutique firms, especially those providing services. It taught us to be patient and resourceful. On the contrary, 2010 showed a lot of movement in certain pockets of the market but competition is intense, which pushes us to be creative and effective in both quality of work and the approach. Small businesses and listed companies, each would have differing views on recession. Industry type along with domestic vs. international market focus will also affect the perception of recession. In my opinion, some industries and businesses continue to experience the effects of economic downturn, while others have moved on to stability and possibly onto growth. Overall, I think the economy is at best stabilized but still a long way before real growth happens across the board."
Akanksha Joshi, Owner: Angad Subways: I think we are at the end of the recession. The after effects still remain. People are still recovering so it will take time. This recession has left a huge mark on everyone, those careless and carefree were forced to think again about their attitude. Parents pulled strings on their kids expenses too so kids got the picture. My 10 year old talks about it, in fact his class teacher has started a project on economics. Itís early but I am glad there is a movement and awareness. Yes the recession has impacted my business, people have to eat but they will cut corners on extras like chips and drinks or try to work out which way they get the biggest bang for their buck. We had to cut back on prices and offer more to stay in competitive.
A lot of regulars initially started bringing brown bag lunches .They are now back for two reasons- one for a single person, cooking food works out more expensive where all packages are super sized and smaller ones work out way too expensive. Second they said theyíd rather save on clothes and other frills than on food.
We have seen a rise in sales since 2009...touchwood!!!
Sameer Sharma, Axar Travel Services: ďThings are improving. The danger of job loss is also not affecting people. Somehow, there is a feeling across the board that now things will only improve, hence people are thinking of purchasing holiday packages. Many customers are in need of a break from the daily routine. These people have shunned the market for many months. Now, they are back!