BETA May 21, 2020 2:46:37 PM 9 min read

How to Survive and Thrive When Your Business Doesn’t

In 2001 Elaine Rasmussen, Founder and CEO of Social Impact Strategies Group (SISG) experienced catastrophic failure in the wake of the dot com bubble burst. She lost her business, her home, and only managed to survive through a single act of kindness that helped her get back on her feet and start the process of recovery.

In this session, Elaine shares the lessons that she learned from hitting rock bottom and the journey of pulling herself up by her bootstraps to survive and thrive on the other side.


  1. It is important that founders acknowledge mental health during their journey. Taking care of yourself and having a support system goes a long way in your business survival and recovery.
  2. Transcend survival thinking to enhance your ability to see opportunity. 
  3. Stay focused during challenging times.  Start with the two things you need to do today to move closer to accomplishing your short-term and long-term goals. 
  4. Set boundaries and be grounded in them as boundaries will help you stay focused, healthy, and disciplined.
  5. Be prepared to go against the grain — take that risk and be confident even if you fail.




Y. Elaine Rasmussen is Founder and CEO of Social Impact Strategies Group (SISG) a Black/Native-led certified B-corp social enterprise and a serial entrepreneur. SISG provides facilitation and consultation on racial equity and social impact audits, education workshops for investors & underestimated entrepreneurs, and produces the annual ConnectUP! MN Summit which promotes and grows inclusive and equitable entrepreneur ecosystems that drive positive, sustainable social impact grounded in economic justice. Rasmussen is a Cordes Fellow and RSF Social Finance Integrated Capital Fellow. Rasmussen was recently featured in Fearless Commerce Magazine and received the National Association of Women Business Owners Achieve! Innovation Award for her work on inclusive economic development.



The session is moderated by Kelly Buhl, Operations Lead at BETA  — Kelly has worked in people operations for Fortune 500s, nonprofits, and startups where she’s created and implemented operational systems that empower people to do their best work. Kelly is a graduate of the Carlson School of Management.  Learn more about Kelly and the BETA team!



"Surviving a Recession" is a five-part series presented by BETA and Launch Minnesota featuring local and national thought leaders sharing how they are applying lessons learned from their experiences weathering multiple recessions (such as the dot com bubble, September 11 and the 2008 housing crisis) to their businesses today.



The Adventures of Code42 Post-911 

Moderated by Cihan Behlivan, Entrepreneur in Residence at BETA

Mitch Coopet, shares his co-founder journey and how he and his fellow co-founders scaled Code42 in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble. 


Staying Grounded During Times of Economic Uncertainty 

Moderated by Mike Gietl, J.P. Morgan Industry Executive

Jodi Hubler shares her experience at Definity Health (the VC backed insurance innovation bought by United) during 9/11 and the dot-com bubble burst, leading Lemhi Ventures during the Great Recession and thaw of 2008-2010, and the how she’s applying those lessons to today.


It's Ok to Cry

Moderated by Eri O'Diah, CEO at Digital

In this session of ‘Surviving a Recession’, Seena Hodges, Founder and CEO of The Woke Coach, guides us through an unfiltered conversation around becoming our best, most understanding, and empathetic selves during challenging times. 


How Rapid Adaptation Can Save Your Business
Moderated by Casey Shultz, Executive Director at BETA

Lili Hall, Founder & CEO of Knock, Inc, Janet Johanson, Founder and CEO of BevSource and The Lab, and Scott Burns, Co-founder & CEO of Structural are no strangers to global recessions. All three were leading companies in the aftermath of 9/11 and through the housing crisis of 2008, but each agrees that something about COVID-19 feels different.


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