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Refael Edry’s Inspiring Lessons For Growing Your Startup During A Recession

The COVID-19 pandemic brought businesses acrosses the globe to a standstill. Business owners had to streamline their processes, embrace lean operations, and brainstorm new ways to attract customers.

The Pandemic’s Impact On Business

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 6 million people worked fewer hours or didn’t work at all in June 2021 because their employers had lost business or shut down during the pandemic.

Another report by the Federal Reserve revealed that 200,000 extra business establishments had permanently closed in the U.S. during the first year of the pandemic. The good news is that business closure levels were lower than many economists had predicted at the start of the viral outbreak.

Many companies found innovative ways to sustain themselves. From identifying additional revenue streams to minimizing operational overheads, entrepreneurs used various techniques to stay afloat despite the pandemic’s uncertainties.

Unfortunately, just as the economy was showing signs of recovery, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted global supply chains further and skyrocketed fuel prices. And then, the experts started cautioning against an impending recession.

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The year 2023 started with Kristalina Georgieva, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), warning that the recession would affect a third of the world’s economy. She cited the economic slowdown in Europe and the U.S. and the spike in COVID-19 cases in China as causes for concern.

The Plight Of Startups

Even without a recession or economic slowdown, startups have to overcome a plethora of challenges to stay afloat. They usually have a limited cash flow and manpower. Also, they often have to compete with established brands to win consumers’ trust.

A global recession will only exacerbate these challenges. As inflation rates spike, consumers will become more skeptical about buying from businesses that haven’t established a strong authority or reputation in the market. Also, funding from angel investors and venture capitalists could dry up, thus leading to severe cash flow challenges.

In such a scenario, it can be easy to feel dejected and think about shutting down your company. But it can also be a time of untapped opportunities and growth. All you need to do is look at things from a different perspective.

And if you need some inspiration to pull your startup through the next recession, you can take a cue from Refael (aka Rafi) Edry, one of Israel’s most renowned entrepreneurs. Here are a few lessons from his life that’ll come in handy during any crisis, including a recession:

Push Your Limits

Born to a humble family in Safed, Refael Edry is the oldest of three brothers. He had to start working as a young adult to support his family through financial struggles. Most people would’ve surrendered to their circumstances and given up hopes of building a better life for themselves.

But Rafi Edry and his brothers, Eyal Edry and Moshe Edree persevered. They overcame every obstacle that came their way with fierce determination and fulfilled their shared dream of becoming successful business owners.

And whenever they were on the verge of giving up, the three brothers sought inspiration from the exemplary journey of their war hero uncle. Refael Edry z|l (the uncle) was a brave freedom fighter who led several battalions during Israel’s War of Independence. 

Even though he was martyred at 24, he exhibited unparalleled courage and determination in his short life. Refael Edry (the nephew) continues to look up to his uncle whenever the going gets tough.

If you’re running a startup during a recession, there’ll be times when you’ll question whether it’s worth the struggle. Instead of letting the tough times overpower you, you must find ways to push yourself and your team.

For instance, if you notice a dip in sales, talk to your marketing and sales teams about attracting customers through discounts and promotional offers. Also, you can connect with your customers on various channels, such as email and social media, to understand their pain points during a recession and tweak your marketing strategies accordingly.

Give Back To The Community

Despite his professional achievements, Refael Edry continues to empathize with underprivileged children and adolescents in Israel’s periphery. His experience as a young adult helps him understand the challenges these individuals face to rise above their circumstances.

That’s why he started the Ahinoam Association for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities. The organization runs various welfare initiatives and development projects to support at-risk children and youth in Israel’s periphery. It’s Rafael Edry’s way of making a difference in the lives of those around him.

Similarly, as an entrepreneur, you must contribute to the community’s upliftment, even during a recession. Host donation drives and fundraising events or encourage employees to volunteer at a local non-profit organization.

These initiatives won’t cost you a fortune, which means you can implement them during a recession, too. Also, they’ll help you build goodwill and position your organization as one that cares for the community. Ultimately, it’ll help you build your brand and win customers’ trust.

In Conclusion

The journey of Refael Edry is a fine example of the power of determination, perseverance, and resilience. His story packs a treasure trove of valuable lessons for entrepreneurs struggling to take their startups to the next level during a recession. 

Step out of your comfort zone, understand the importance of giving back to society, and harness every opportunity for growth. Don’t forget to keep your team motivated through these difficult times, too.

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