Evergreen Businesses to Launch: Enterprises Which Thrive Regardless of Economic Conditions


James D. Roumeliotis

Regardless of which direction the economy is moving towards ─ whether a recession, another pandemic, a calamity, or other external force, as an aspiring entrepreneur, launching a resilient type of business is key. As such, starting a profitable evergreen business idea could be the best bet for long-term survival.

Recession-Proof vs. Recession Resistant

Recession-proof businesses are traditionally defined as those that either thrive during adverse economic times or at least survive intact, whereas, recession-resistant businesses, are those with a better chance than most of riding out a recession.

Top 14 Profitable Evergreen Businesses to Consider

1] Noncyclical Businesses

These include consumer staples that are less reliant on business cycle shifts. Such companies produce or distribute goods and services we always need. Financially, they’re relatively stable and independent of the fluctuations in economic activity. For example, we won’t stop buying groceries because the economy is in a whirlwind. Then there are some which are not very sexy such as funeral homes/services.

2] Food Stores and Food Service

This includes take-out prepared meals and delivery. Regardless of the economy, everyone needs to eat. Specialty food shops such as gourmet, ethnic, and health-related are also ever more popular due to changing tastes and nutritional concerns respectively.

3] Health Care Providers & Products

As with food, health care is crucial as people continue to get sick even during bad economic times. Businesses include clinics, home care, and the pharmaceutical domain.

4] Discount Retail

Dollar stores and retailers selling liquidated items fall under this category. People cut back on luxuries during a recession but that doesn’t mean they never buy anything that isn’t strictly necessary. People who otherwise never step into a dollar store rethink their shopping habits when a recession hits. In categories that aren’t emotionally important, consumers ‘trade down’ or become bargain hunters. For instance, a passionate Porsche driver will shop at Costco every weekend.

5] Information Technology (IT) & Cybersecurity

There is no escaping it! Technology now permeates every sector of the economy, every company is now a “tech” company. Every business requires systems administrators, software designers, and cybersecurity specialists, so the demand for such independent contractors, workers, and services is higher than ever ─ despite the state of the economy. In addition, the International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts that worldwide cyber security spending will reach $174.7 billion in 2024, with security services the largest and fastest-growing market segment. The rise in cyber attacks, especially ransomware, has fuelled the cyber insurance market.

6] Education Sector

While some areas of the education sector, such as schools, have been growing at 4-5 percent a year, others like multimedia content, pre-schools, and vocational training have been growing much faster at 20-30 percent. Overall, the education sector is estimated to be a $40 billion market projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of about 16 percent for the next five years. Studies show that students are more like to enroll in college and even more likely to stay in college during a recession [source: Parker]. That was true during the Great Recession and every U.S. recession since the 1960s, making higher education one of the more recession-resistant sectors around.

7] Transportation, Logistics & Shipping

Transportation and logistics are a critical aspect of development for any country as it ensures the delivery of goods from one place to another. This gives rise to many lucrative transportation business opportunities that one can thrive upon and earn good profits. Businesses that thrive in a recession happen to have products or services that people need regardless of their circumstances. Both freight and logistics deliver the necessities, making it consistently a recession-proof and profitable evergreen business.

8] Electric Vehicle (EV) Repairs & Maintenance

There’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs in the electric vehicle market. Electric vehicles are sweeping the auto industry, and one crucial piece has largely been left out of the limelight ─ service. Tesla, the largest electric car maker, has famously struggled with servicing its growing fleet, and with demand for battery-electric cars skyrocketing, it may not be alone as many more start-up EV makers, such as Lucid and Rivian, along with legacy car makers, are churning-out more models. At some point, when their warranties expire, independent EV repair shops will be the go-to for diagnosis and repairs.

9] Various Trades in Constant Demand

If it requires vocational education or a trade college diploma, trades include Electrician, Plumber, General Installer (Handyman), Carpenter & Bookkeeping to name a few in high-demand occupations which can be turned into very profitable self-employed businesses.

10] Consulting and Brokerage

This includes a Procurement Broker, an Insurance Broker, Mortgage Broker, and a Rental Agent among others. Brokers manage various business deals and act as a liaison between parties, as well as create and maintain relationships, administer sales, and perform administrative tasks. They don’t need to own any physical products for resale (inventory) and can earn handsome commissions or success fees when closing deals ─ the lucrative types in particular such as a large project.

11] Pet Sector

People love their pets. If a beloved dog or cat falls ill, its owners are not likely to get frugal and skip on veterinary care. There is also pet insurance which is getting ever popular. Then there are numerous food choices, accessories, and clothing. Grooming and other pet care services are also part of the spending. According to the American Pet Products Association, in 2021, pet owners spent $123.6 billion on their pets in the U.S. and according to the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 70% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 90.5 million homes.

12] Property Management & Real Estate Development

In this category, reference is notably made to residential property management such as for condominium buildings (common area & exterior maintenance) and management.  Real Estate development would be owning housing for rent via Airbnb and other such online residential rental platforms.

13] Daycare Center

The trend of working mothers has been increasing over the years. Therefore, there is a need for someone to take care of their kids. Day-care centers can solve this matter. If one can provide good and hygienic facilities, along with a structured educational program and activities, this can attract a good chunk of business (i.e., kids).

14] Organic-Urban Farming

These days, many are preferring organic food which is free of pesticides and chemicals. If you can take some piece of land, or build a reasonable size greenhouse, you can do organic farming (both organic vegetables and fruits) and supply to retail outlets, and high-end restaurants in towns and cities. Moreover, children are more susceptible than adults to diseases caused by chemical pesticide residues in food and so parents prefer to give them organic foods. Food producers experience many advantages in organic farming that conventional growers don’t. For example, organic farming doesn’t typically require the same high capital investments than conventional farming does. Especially when the expense of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified seed stock is factored in. 

In Closing

Many of the evergreen businesses, stated above, do well during recessions by providing goods and services which increase in demand due to recession conditions. In addition, the ones which sell physical products offer less expensive alternatives to premium purchases since demand is relatively inflexible to changes in incomes. 

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