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The Ghosts of Business Past, Present and Yet to Come

Like the death of Ebenezer Scrooge's business partner Jacob Marley, the flourishing economy we once knew for so long has also come to pass. And now the economy we have become well acquainted with is somewhat of a scrooge itself. It is for many, terribly unkind, uncompassionate and uncharitable.

But, with a less than comprehensive examination into somewhat recent economic history, we can evaluate business past and present, allowing us to realize the opportunities of business yet to come.

Ghost of Business Past

It wasn't long ago that we were faced with similar economic hardships. Our current economic downturn has been most often compared to that of the 1980s. Undoubtedly, the 1980s were tough for many average Americans. Their companies failed, their jobs were lost and their financial stability ceased. These average Americans were forced to start over, with no savings and no credit. And so, the necessities they needed came at far greater costs.

It was during and directly following this time period that the United States saw tremendous growth in discount "big-box" stores, like Wal-Mart, and rent-to-own stores, like ColorTyme. The business logic was simple. Find a way for people to better afford the things they need.

Ghost of Business Present

Now the similarities between the recession of the 1980s and our current economic climate are debatable, but the hardships many average Americans face are not. A lost job is a lost job. A bill left unpaid is a bill left unpaid. Diminishing credit is diminishing credit. The needs of a single mother of three in the 1980s aren't all that different from a single mother of three in 2010.

On that same note, the business opportunities aren't all that different either. As each month passes, more and more average Americans face the struggle of acquiring the things they need with less and less financial wherewithal. Their problems become compounded by the fact that bad credit could take seven years, or longer, to repair. The businesses that find a way to meet the needs of these people will be the businesses that flourish now and in the coming years.

Ghost of Business Yet to Come

If lessons are learned and opportunities are realized, some of the strongest business ventures over the next decade will be those that best respond to the financial calamity created by the current economic downturn. Businesses and services that help meet the needs of consumers who are stretched thin on cash and savings and suffer from severely tarnished credit will be in a position to expand and flourish.

And, with this new wave of business growth, the current "scroogie" economy will follow suit. We will all once again find ourselves in better times, living in a more kind, compassionate, and charitable economy.

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