You may be concerned about starting a new business in the current economic climate, but it is often easier to start a business during an economic downturn because your potential competitors are afraid to start their own businesses, and existing business owners commonly cut back on expenditures such as advertising, limiting the number of new customers and clients they can attract. Consumers don’t completely stop spending during recessions; most simply seek better deals and the companies providing those better deals are stronger once the recession ends. When the economy improves and spending increases again, consumer loyalty to those companies frequently remain.Many successful businesses were started during economic downturns in U.S. history. For example:FedEx Corporation began operations on April 17, 1973 as Federal Express, and today manages daily shipments worldwide.GE (General Electric Company) was established in the mid-1870s by Thomas Edison. In the middle of the Panic of 1873, Edison created one of the best-known inventions of all time, the incandescent light bulb.HP (Hewlett-Packard) was inauspiciously born in a Palo Alto, CA, garage at the end of the Great Depression, and now operates in nearly every country in the world.Hyatt Corporation opened its first hotel’s doors at the Los Angeles International Airport on September 27, 1957 during the recession of 1958. The chain rose to worldwide fame in the following decades and now operates more than 365 hotels in 25 countries.Microsoft Corporation wasn’t always the company it is today. In 1975, when it was started by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft was just a little company in Albuquerque, NM. Currently, the company is estimated to earn more than $60 billion in revenue per year.CNN might be a news giant now, but in recession-plagued 1980, it was a little-known station called The Cable News Network founded by Ted Turner. It revolutionized how people received information when it premiered as the first 24-hour all-news channel. Today, 1.5 billion people around the globe watch CNN.MTV Networks brought something new and different to the music scene when it debuted in the economic slump of 1981 and is now a global brand with dozens of television shows.Burger King Corporation is another recession startup. The company began in 1954 in Miami, FL. During another recession in 1957, the company introduced its successful signature burger: the Whopper. The company currently operates more than 11,000 locations in over 60 countries.The IHOP Corporation chain opened its doors July 1958 in Toluca, CA. The fast growing company, which began franchising just three years later, today has more than 1,300 locations across the U.S.Recessions, however, aren’t only advantageous to startups. Existing companies can also make incredible gains in years when the economy is down. Some of the most recent success stories include Google and PayPal. From 2000 to 2001 each of these companies thrived, leading PayPal to go public in 2002 and Google in 2004.