The pandemic continues to impact the American economy in major ways. With millions of people still laid off and countless others adjusting to working from home, many of us are wondering when things will go back to normal. But as of yet, we aren’t even sure whether they will at all.
On the upside, quarantine has given many people the chance to start fresh in certain ways. And since 69% of U.S. entrepreneurs start their businesses at home, some may be wondering whether their effort to flatten the curve might perfectly coincide with their desire to start their own enterprise.
While it might seem unsound to start a business right now, it’s actually more common than you might think. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 500,000 new applications for employer identification numbers have been received since mid-March, while the Small Business Administration issued roughly 300 new startup loans (worth about $153 million) between March and April. What’s more, a number of wildly successful businesses were started during times of economic downturn, including Disney, Adidas, GM, Microsoft, Uber, and Venmo.
Since a number of industries are actually doing fairly well during the pandemic, it might make sense to strike while the iron is hot and the competition is low. The wellness market was set to grow at a rate of 6.9% annually in North America — and since lots of Americans are continuing to do their pampering at home, it could be a great time to launch your new wellness product. Alternatively, if you’re looking to get a piece of the technological pie, your services might be in-demand. Given that 96% of organizations have used cloud technology in one way or another — and businesses operating remotely need IT help more than ever before — you could be poised to make a splash. In addition, you might be able to take advantage of lower interest rates for borrowed capital, lower lease rates for commercial spaces in the wake of evictions, and a bigger pool of out-of-work talent when hiring.
Of course, it won’t necessarily be a walk in the park. There are always a number of challenges in play when launching a new business and these have been amplified during pandemic conditions. If your idea relies on close contact with others or your ideal industry has slowed to a standstill, you might have to put off your plans. But on the flip side, there are more chances to put your innovation to good use. It’s also possible that if you’ve been laid off, you could actually start your business and continue collecting unemployment (assuming you earn less than the threshold determined by your state).
Really, it’s risky to start a new business at any time. But if you approach things the right way, deciding to embrace a new venture during COVID-19 could have a potentially huge pay-off.