2020 was an unprecedented year to say the least. The entire business world came to a screeching halt in nearly every industry. People across the globe were rethinking and prioritizing their health and reevaluating how they spent their time and money. Even economists and analysts that previously were at odds when it comes to the economy, suddenly all agreed that in terms of jobs, job creation and job attrition – the experts had never seen anything like this before in our lifetime. The media was frenzied with doom and gloom stories of business closings and the years and headlines were filled with stories about the months and years ahead that it would take for our economy to rebound.
There remained, however, one group of never say never optimists- the entrepreneurs of the business world. Swimming in their usual sea of pessimism are these creative, risk taking, opportunists ready to exploit whatever a down economy has to offer.
Given the circumstances that a worldwide pandemic creates, the average person would probably consider starting a business right now in 2021, not something that would be readily recommended. However, if you take a deeper look at the overall effects the past year has had on every facet of small business, you will find there has not been a better time to start a business in decades. Here’s five reasons why:
1. You Get to be Your Own Boss
After experiencing the volatility that coincides with working for somebody else, workers everywhere have reevaluated their skills and schedules. Technology has enabled the workforce in a multitude of industries to work from home, or anywhere for that matter. Having the flexibility to manage both family and relational responsibilities with personal and work responsibility has created an entire new dynamic. Workers that were otherwise required to report to a “brick and mortar” office, now take advantage of lessening or eliminating their commutes by utilizing virtual office apps such as Zoom to communicate.
Additionally, and considered to be most attractive to many working parents and homeowners, is the ability to work from home. Families that have benefitted from having one parent stay home to accommodate the daily schedules and routines of family life, have reported a drastic savings in childcare expenses as well as quality of life.
The transition from commuting into an office to working virtually, has equipped entire workforces to be able to work independently. In fact, it has enabled individuals and groups to be able to work SO independently, that many have decided to split off and start their own business utilizing the skills, training, education and experience they gained prior to the pandemic. The shift has been so dramatic, that economists fear it will be nearly impossible for some employers to get their employees to come back to their old positions.
In short, there is no better time than the present to take your skills, knowledge and experience to strike out on your own and be your own boss. When you work for yourself, you get to determine when and where you work and take on the assignments that bring you the most gratification financially and otherwise.
2. Pivotal Overhead Costs Have Fallen
Unfortunately, a record number of businesses were forced to close their doors. This ultimately flooded the real estate market with commercial vacancies. New business owners that require a storefront operation are now finding themselves with the opportunity to lock in low leasing rates or negotiate better terms to existing leases.
Conversely, other businesses have reframed the way they conduct business in person and have forgone the commitment of a lease in lieu of using such services as shared office spaces where you rent the space and services you need, by the hour, week, month or longer. Only paying for what you are actually using, cuts costs significantly and allows for the newfound flexibility of the age we are stepping into.
3. New Market Opportunities
The supply and demand for services within specific industries has skyrocketed. For example, parents are rethinking childcare to accommodate children whose school district now conducts learning remotely. If you used to work for a nanny service, perhaps now you could start your own company since the demand for your services has risen sharply. Another industry that experienced instant growth was the “food to go” market. Catering, heat and eat and meal planning services saw exponential increases as well. Personal shopping and delivery service providers such as Instacart and UberEats hit record demand. IT consultants and technicians are needed more than ever. E-commerce has boomed in the past year as a result of consumers being cornered into purchasing goods online, utilizing no-contact, online “store-to-door” shipping services.
Whether you have tangible products that can be sold via an online store or services that can be re-shaped to fit the changing markets, now is a great time to explore those opportunities by forming your own business, even if it starts with just you as the only employee.
4. Promotional Pricing Provides a Competitive Edge
Nothing makes a consumer feel better than a good deal. Who doesn’t like to save money? Similar to the concept of the falling commercial real estate prices, is the concept of promotional pricing. As the economy rebounds and people try to get back on their feet financially, new business owners have an opportunity to offer solid commitments for promotional pricing.
New businesses have the rare opportunity to determine their present value from day 1. While existing businesses are finding themselves changing their prices, and raising their prices to accommodate unforeseen costs, new businesses get to capitalize on jumping into the game with promotional prices. By keeping overhead costs low, and growing organically, brand new small businesses can take advantage of pricing schemes to attract new clients.
Consumers were forced to abandon their “favorite” service providers during the pandemic. Take for example the hair cutting and salon industry. When salons closed, people turned to friends, family and DIY products to get haircuts. Once a consumer has diversified their options, they are easier to captivate with a new provider or option.
The marketplace is ripe for innovators and new service providers. Brand loyalty has diminished. Whether you are in the personal care space or some other service industry such as car detailing, home cleaning services or transportation services for example, the opportunity to competitively price your products and services to win new clients exists right now. Customers are shopping around for affordable options. Take advantage of those low overhead costs and pair it with promotional pricing to have a competitive edge while you build your new small business.
5. Readily Available Talent
Report in April 2020, 20.6 million jobs were lost in just one month’s time, resulting in an unemployment rate of 14.7%. This level has not been seen since the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Present data shows the economy in the United States is rebounding, slowly but surely. This means that the income providers of households are gradually weaning off of state and federally funded unemployment programs and are actively looking for job opportunities as they become available.
The great news for a new business owner is that there is an excessive amount of talent in a variety of industries just waiting to be hired. New businesses can now get talent that they perhaps might not have been able to afford prior to the economic reset. In addition to the abundance of available candidates, the quality of the candidates is also higher. New business owners will not have the worry of scrambling to find the help that they need, at prices they can afford. By utilizing job search engines such as Indeed.com, new businesses can platform their opportunities for those candidates that are actively seeking work.
As Mark Twain said, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” If you are a driven, skilled, talented individual with a desire to work for yourself, there is no time like the present to start a new business. Pairing the option to lock in low overhead costs with a needs driven economy and budding workforce is creating a once in a lifetime opportunity.