Over 100 Highly Successful Companies That Started During Tough Times

“Success is like a giant iceberg,” writes author and motivational speaker Alex Altman. “What people see is only on the surface.” Wise words! And especially in an age where everyone can look like a winner with a carefully crafted Instagram post.

But as Alex points out, behind the picture of a billionaire kicking back on a private yacht, there’s an underwater mountain of early mornings, late finishes, rejection, and a few failures. In other words, real success doesn’t come easy. It’s up to us to go out there and build it. 

So what do you during the times when everything seems stacked against you, like now? After all, starting a new business in the middle of a global recession can’t be a good idea, surely? Many would argue otherwise, and that includes some of today’s top entrepreneurs and CEOs. In fact, as BusinessFinancing.co.uk found out, over a hundred of the Fortune 500 companies launched during massive economic downturns. 

And instead of seeing a recession as an obstacle to success, the best business people view it as an opportunity to offer something new. Former schoolmates  Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia unveiled Airbnb in 2008. At the time, the world was locked in a global credit crunch. Airbnb cut prices for customers and created a market where cash-strapped homeowners could earn an income. 

Groupon had the perfect business model for a global recession – saving people money. The E-commerce and voucher code provider also launched in 2008 and attracted 35 million users within its first two years.

 And remember, even the most incredible journeys often start from humble beginnings. Back in the US depression of 1960, Tom Monaghan borrowed $900 to open a pizza restaurant to feed hungry university students. He called it Dominos, and that little pizza place is now a worldwide brand that makes $400million a year. 

Here’s a look at some other companies that didn’t let anything block their path to success.


Ashley Murphy graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. He began working as a freelance content writer in 2015. He specializes in technology, higher education, advertising copy, and current affairs.

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Over 100 Highly Successful Companies That Started During Tough Times

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