In 1992, Stephanie Breedlove started a payroll company in 1992 when 10 million Americans were out of work, the country faced record deficits, and poverty and welfare rolls were growing. Rather than compete with the big providers, she decided to focus on providing payroll for parents who had a nanny. It was a tiny slice of the payroll market, yet 20 years later, she sold Breedlove & Associated for $54 million.
When the Great Recession of 2008/9 hit Ireland, John Moore’s business took a significant turn for the worse, and he realized he needed to re-invent the company. Moore decided to offer an application that students could use to learn about anatomy.
Instead of focusing exclusively on textbook publishers, they started selling their app directly to students, teachers and medical professionals. His story of focusing on a digital product ensured he saw success coming out of a crisis.
During the days that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, most Americans believed they were at war. The crisis paralyzed owners who wondered what would become of the world. Spending stopped. The stock market tanked. One owner, Sunny Vanderbeck, took the crisis as an opportunity to make bold choices that would ultimately end in selling his company in a transaction valued at $85 million.