Surviving Recessions: How long do recessions last?

Many of my refractive surgery customers are either in countries already in recession or facing one in Q2 2024 (for example, the UK, Germany, South Africa, Estonia, Australia, and New Zealand).

Building upon previous insights shared in articles such as how refractive surgeons can beat the 2023 recession and the best response to a recession for private healthcare companies, in this blog post, we will look at a typical duration of recessions. As we approach the second quarter of 2024, the spectre of economic downturn looms large, posing significant challenges but also unique opportunities for those prepared to navigate these turbulent times.

Finding hope in history’s lessons

Since 1950, the US has experienced 11 recessions. These tough times lasted from two to 18 months, but on average, they lasted about 10 months. Recessions can feel like an eternity if you lose your job or your business has to close. But if you’re putting your money into things for the long haul, you should look at the bigger picture.

Yes, recessions hurt, but the good times, called expansions, are strong.

Looking back, the good times usually outshine the bad ones. The good times have lasted from 12 months to an amazing 106 months, with the economy growing between 3% to 52%. The longest good time was from 1961 to 1969, and the economy grew by 52%! Recessions, on the other hand, were much shorter and less severe in comparison.

On average, a good time lasts about 69 months, during which the economy grows by 24.6% and 12 million jobs are created. A tough time lasts about 10 months, during which the economy shrinks slightly by 2.5% and about 3.9 million jobs disappear.

Even though recessions can feel like big deals, they’re just small moments when you look at the last 70 years. The U.S. economy was only in a recession for less than 15% of that time. And guess what? Even during those tough times, the economy has mainly been growing, not shrinking.

So, even when times are tough, your business can still grow with patience (and some intelligent pivoting).

💡Pro tip

The financial realities for different generations vary significantly. Gen Zers have more difficulty making ends meet and building wealth, and millennials will likely fare a little better. According to Pew, Gen Xers were the only ones to recover the wealth they lost in the “Great Recession”. While it may not be necessary to shift your product offerings entirely, pivoting your marketing and service strategies towards demographics with greater spending power could prove beneficial.

As we prepare for the second quarter of 2024, let’s not forget that recessions, while challenging, are also periods of opportunity for those ready to embrace change and adapt. By leveraging the lessons of history, focusing on your core values, and connecting with your patients on a deeper level, your practice can emerge stronger, more resilient, and ready for the growth that lies ahead.

Navigating a recession requires a blend of patience, strategic thinking, and an unwavering commitment to your patients’ well-being. It’s about seeing beyond the immediate challenges and recognizing the potential for growth and innovation. Let’s move forward with confidence, knowing that we are not just aiming to survive, but to thrive, offering clear vision and hope to those we serve, even in the most uncertain of times.

NOTE: The best way to answer that nagging question about practice growth or marketing or patient volume in the back of your mind is to book a free 15-minute compatibility call. Get some options and go away with a clear idea of what’s possible.

About the author

Rod Solar
Founder & Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor for its customers. Rod mentors and coaches eye surgery business CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to triple their sales, double their profit, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

Get your Practice Marketing Score

Take our FREE “Practice Marketing” quiz. Get your score and benchmark yourself to practices around the world.

Find articles on:

What our clients say…

“In a matter of weeks, we already saw results with LiveseySolar. Far before we were even finished with our project.”

Erik Chotiner, MD, FACS, Ophthalmologist

“The whole group has been very, very professional. We’re quite early in the stages, but we can see the benefits.”

Dr Nick Mantell , MBChB FRANZCO

“They’re very professional. They know what they’re doing, but they also put us at ease. This helped us to cut through what’s needed to get what we want.”

Mr Praveen Patel, MA (Cantab), MB BChir (Cantab), FRCOphth, MD (Res)

“It’s wonderful to work with an agency that engages on our level and understands our market.”

Dr Anton Van Heerden, MBChB; FRANZCO, Ophthalmologist

Get your Practice Marketing Score

Take our FREE “Practice Marketing” quiz. Get your score and benchmark yourself to practices around the world.

Meet our Founders

We’re passionate about helping leaders of high-quality, growth-minded practice owners double their practice revenue

Rod Solar

Founder & Scalable Business Advisor

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO for our customers. Rod mentors and coaches CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to triple their sales, double their profit, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

Read more

LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

Laura Livesey

Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

Read more

Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK