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Recession Session

Read everything you need to know to beat the downturn in one sitting.

Dallas entrepreneur Sean Magennis started his human resources management software business in Toronto 11 years ago during one of Canada's worst recessions. Atlanta marketing company owner Jan Lok and Appleton, Wisconsin, construction entrepreneur Paul J. Hoffman both opened their businesses' doors only to be greeted by two recessions in five years. And when David Gauger's San Francisco advertising agency took in its first dollar 27 years ago, the United States was reeling in one of the longest downturns since the Depression.

When it comes to recession, these entrepreneurs have been there, done that.

As the United States enters its 11th recession since 1945, entrepreneurs who have seen it all before offer caution, hope and advice to those experiencing their first slump. And despite predictions that this recession will be shallow and short, experienced entrepreneurs say newbies' anxiety is appropriate.

"It's a very risky time," says Gauger, 51, principal of Gauger + Santy Associates. "You can't put it on autopilot."

One path many entrepreneurs are taking is to lie low and try to ride it out. Others opt to expand energetically to gain an advantage on competitors when the recession ends. We talked to experts and entrepreneurs to learn how and when they recommend aggressive or defensive postures in four areas: managing money, managing people, marketing and technology.

Survive the Recession!
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This article was originally published in the March 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Recession Session.

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