Got fired recently? For 26-year-old Alex Light, there was only one answer. After losing his job in Dubai real estate, Light set up Bad Times Bootcamp to help unemployed people get fit and get to know each other – neatly creating an anti-cyclical business that not only flourished during the recession but capitalized on it.
Light now hopes to spread the concept across the globe, welcoming the possibility of sponsorship in order to keep the classes free while supporting himself and his new social enterprise.
A bright idea but with one obvious catch: what happens when the downturn turns up? When keen fitness fanatics run back to their desks and the delights of full time work, Light will be pounding down beaches alone.
That’s the problem with creating a business that capitalizes on only a passing trend – and while it may seem a little crude to call the recession a ‘passing trend’, we all know it’s not going to last forever. If the most recent reports are to be trusted, things are already looking up.
Yes, coming up with an anti-cyclical idea can translate into pure business gold – but don’t invest your all into it if it doesn’t have staying power past the economic dip. Always, always aim for a business that makes the most of a growing trend. That way, the only way is up.
Alex Light has contacted Smarta to explain Bad Times Bootcamp is in fact just a group to help people through the tough times. "The concept is not a business and in no way is an entrepreneurial exercise," he says. "It is free for all, to help the guys who are having a tough time being unemployed.” Sorry Alex!
But cautions about starting an anticyclical business still hold true - be wary of capitalising on passing trends if serious money-making is your aim.