The economy was left in shambles because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that the United States’ monthly economic activity peaked all the way back to February 2020. After that, it all went downhill when lockdown restrictions were enforced. This caused a 9.1 percent decline in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2020, as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is the most massive decline on record. It’s because the quarterly GDP has never dropped more than three percent since 1947 when they actually started recording.
Keeping a business during normal times is already quite a challenge in itself. But making it successful after a crisis is a different thing altogether. It’s a high level of achievement that leads to greater things. Every new office building they construct, every new employee they hire, and every logo they print with insta graphic systems is made even more meaningful.
These are some iconic companies that thrived after economic crises.
We’ve all heard about the Great Depression in our history classes at school. It was caused by the stock market crash in 1929. It also caused widespread panic at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. Then the situation became worse because of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. It’s considered the worst economic crisis that we had to face. So it’s a wonder how some companies had survived this crisis, much less even thrive until today. But that’s exactly what Disney did.
Walt and Roy Disney released the short-animated film, Steamboat Willie, in 1928. With that, they introduced Mickey Mouse to the world. But Walt Disney Productions are part of the entertainment industry. So it’s hardly an essential business that can survive the economic crisis.
But the Disney brothers believed in the importance of their work, especially during troubled times. It was their duty to uplift people’s spirits. So through the difficult years, they continued developing their business and working on major projects. Disney helped people recover from the Great Depression by releasing more heartfelt films that families could enjoy together. The first of them was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which was released in 1937.
Apple has always been at the forefront of technology and modernity. So we often tend to forget that it’s been around since the 1970s. But the company has been there for decades now. And this means that it has seen various economic crises come and gone.
One of the biggest economic crises that Apple had to face was the massive downhill of the tech boom starting in 2001 and continuing all the way to 2002. This was the bursting of the dot-com bubble of the 1990s. Cisco, Intel, Oracle, and other big tech companies at that time lost over 80 percent of their value.
But Apple came out of the rubble of the dot-com crash. Following the crisis, they launched the iPod in 2001. And it revolutionized the way people enjoyed music. Then, in 2003, they launched the iTunes Store. It transformed the music industry by making it possible for people to buy songs online. Apple also made quite an impact on computer users. They released to the public Mac OS X, the Mac computers’ operating system, in 2001. After that, Apple just continued transforming technology in ways we couldn’t even have imagined.
2008 was also a turbulent year for our economy. People dealt with an array of crises in housing, credit, and banking. It led to the loss of over 30 percent of the value of various financial markets. It was one of the most traumatizing economic crises that people faced. Since it was merely over a decade ago, some businesses and families still haven’t fully recovered from it.
But Airbnb’s Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia turned around this crisis, especially the housing crisis, by providing a solution to people’s temporary living situations. They let people rent an air mattress in their living room in San Francisco. Since then, the company grew into a revolutionized lodging accommodations.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread panic about our health. Many people were dying every single day because of it. But it also wreaked havoc on the economy. It caused people to close down their companies despite their previously thriving businesses prior to this year. It also caused them to lay off some employees despite their stellar work performance and value to the company.
2020 has been a very hard year for businesses. But this doesn’t mean that they can’t survive this economic crisis. They can even be more successful after it. After all, it has happened before, as demonstrated by some very successful companies.