What Really Prevents Companies from Thriving in a Recession

Business leaders know they should “never let a good crisis go to waste,” but very few of them actually live this maxim. In a study of companies’ performance during and after the past several recessions, one of us found that 17% didn’t survive (because they filed for bankruptcy, were acquired, or went private), and of those that did, the vast majority — 80% — were still struggling three years later to match their pre-recession growth. Only 9% of surviving companies “roared out of the recession,” posting results that exceeded both their peers and their pre-recession performance. 

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