One thing we know about recessions is that weak businesses have suffered. Owing billions of unsafe money in a time when people further down the chain were losing their jobs nearly killed the banking industry. Credit disappeared as funds got tight and people had no money to spend or save, so credit got tighter and … it stayed that way for a couple of years. Of course that is an over-simplification, but cash flow dried up for many businesses.
Many of the true survivors have had to use skills, resourcefulness and quality as their tools to keep ahead. It was not a case of cutting prices and hoping that would win the deals, but offering more for the same price. Hospitality started to look at local seasonal food to understand better quality produce. A number of small catering suppliers grew out of this need to get back to artisan ingredients and they will continue to prosper.
For consultants, the quiet times can be spent learning, working on business skills and getting to know more colleagues and clients. The web and social media have opened up a window for many and this is a real benefit, if used properly to ethically enhance your profile. Whilst you can get to know a lot of people quickly this way, the same speed applies to them finding out about sharp practises.
So maybe the recession has helped to build back some form of community, a higher standard of ethics and getting back to basics?