Local businesses use referral economy to insulate against economic downturn


“When the recession came through in 2010, I didn’t lose a day of work,” Deer said. “And I’m in a business where it’s very dependent on other businesses doing well, because you’re not going to get PR work. They’re going to worry about keeping people employed and keeping the lights on.”

Chris Chitwood, also a BNI member, owns and operates Dayton Detailing with his wife, Cara.

“When you’re dealing with a bunch of other business owners, if you need work, you can always reach out and they will help you,” Chitwood said. “They understand your stress. They truly have empathy for what you’re going through trying to get business, and they’re going to put way more effort into it. Even if it’s not the business you want, or the money you want, they’re going to help you eat.”

For young professionals, the caveat is to know your position, industry, and what kind of job you have, to fully understand what you bring to the table, Deer said.

“You don’t really get taught this in school. You learn it if you’ve been in a fraternity sometimes, or if you’ve been in a service club,” Deer said. “Most people are taught the hunting way of networking. You go to a trade show or event, and I call them card collectors. They go out and they just get everybody’s business card and then the next morning you’re firehosed with all this email trying to sell you stuff. This happens on LinkedIn all the time.”

“Networking at its core, should be teaching you how to build relationships that last and are mutually beneficial,” he said.

President Joe Biden has deemed inflation a top priority at the White House, as both the Consumer Price Index and the GDP Deflator were up in January compared to January 2021 and reflects the continued economic struggles with COVID-19 disruptions.

The CPI, which measures changes in the average price of consumer goods and services, increased 7.5%.

The GDP Deflator is a measure of the level of prices of all new, domestically produced final goods and services in an economy in a year. The GDP Deflator for all purchases was 12% in 2021. Since 2019, the increase in GDP Deflator has been greater than the Consumer Price Index, indicating on inputs to production in general are rising faster than consumer goods.

“The reality is as businesspeople, we understand an economy downturn, there’s going to be factors to it. But do we really fear it? No. And the positive mindset overcomes a lot of that,” Chitwood said.

“What happens when the economy starts to slide — and it does from time to time — everybody’s panicked right now. The reason that Titanic sank so quickly is because it didn’t hit the iceberg head on. We have to think like that too,” Deer said.

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