If you could name the best possible time to start a business, during a pandemic probably wouldn’t be it. After all, as many as 100,000 companies have had to shut their doors for good this past year. And, while those numbers do include a few big hitters, the vast majority were on the smaller side.
Yet, if the experts are to be believed, 2021 is actually a good year to get going with your business idea, a fact that’s led to a significant startup boom of around 82% in the US, with as many as 84,000 new businesses registering in October alone from locations like France – the highest numbers ever recorded!
While it’s still sensible to ride on the side of caution, then, evidence suggests that there’s no reason not to start your business right now. This fact is only strengthened when you discover that successful businesses have often come out of the ashes, with Microsoft founded amid the oil embargo recession of 1973, while Uber and Airbnb were, in part, products of The Great Recession back in 2008.
On the one hand, this is no surprise due to our love for a great story of struggle. More pressingly, though, the biggest businesses often rise out of difficulty because they spot gaps in markets that were perhaps impenetrable before.
On the surface, this very much seems like what’s happening right now, meaning that 2021 really could be the year of the startup – your startup, in fact. Here, we’re going to look at why that is, and consider how you could start making money, even during these trying times.
Unprecedented amounts of leisure time
Starting a business takes time and, pre-2020, that’s a luxury many of us didn’t have much of. After all, we were too busy commuting, socializing, and generally living our lives. Now, though, our spare time looks a whole lot different, and our calendars are nowhere near as busy as they used to be.
This is fantastic news on the business front, as it means that even those of us who are still working should have more time to dedicate to our grand ideas. Rather than keeping your business in a drawer, take it out and work on it during what would have been your commute. Or, use the time you would have spent socializing at weekends to structure a business plan.
The best part about all this is that it gives you a distraction to fill those endless lockdown hours that may otherwise go to waste or leave you feeling all doom and gloom. Even better, you may well find yourself climbing to success with the business of your dreams at last!
Small is the new big
Despite some initial setbacks, small business is actually big news right now. Yes, on the surface small businesses are undeniably at the forefront of the pandemic struggle, with each having to create new and interesting selling techniques just to get by. On the flip side of that, current risks to independent retailers have put the frighteners up us as a society. As such, social media campaigns to #shoplocal have led to customer increases for those small businesses who have been able to adapt or find new ways of selling.
With this in mind, a business tailored towards sales success with the pandemic in mind could well make the most of both worlds. Not only will you be able to get creative with selling techniques that include eCommerce (which has increased by 40% in the past year!) subscriptions and more, but you’ll also be able to tap right into that newly strengthened customer loyalty.
Just like that, small business goes from being a sure Coronavirus casualty to surviving and thriving in ways that it never has before.
Global markets are so much easier to reach
Small businesses aren’t the only ones to rise out of the ashes after an initial hit this pandemic. Globalization, too, has gone through some pretty rocky times, with threats of ‘slowbalization’ and a complete standstill of global markets made back in March. And in fairness, limited border crossings and major shipping delays were a significant setback to begin with.
But, globalization has very much come back into its own since then, with a surge in online shopping fuelling global sales instead of firing them. In a way, this ties back into that 40% eCommerce increase that we spoke about, but it’s also a testament to the importance of coming together.
That’s a discussion for a whole other day but, to put it simply, the ability to freely purchase items from any market right now is fundamental for continued quality of life, especially with many local retailers having to shut. As such, startups that invest in a foreign currency account and seek the help of newly agile third-party shipment companies open themselves up to globalization on a never-before-seen scale. And, that alone could make a new business venture more lucrative than it ever could have been in the past.
There’s talent for the taking
Experts predict that the pandemic has impacted as many as one in four jobs, a fact that could ultimately leave nearly 200 million people out of work. Those are astounding figures, and as is often the case in times of recession, many of those individuals are highly skilled.
This is terrible news on an economic front, but for the sake of your startup, it at least means that there’s talent for the taking. After all, if those unemployed individuals aren’t starting their own enterprises (which many, admittedly, are,) then the chances are that they’ll be looking for work in an already saturated market. Thus, this is the ideal time to swoop in and take advantage of a much wider talent pool.
The challenge here, really, will be making sure that you settle on the ideal candidates in an age where job postings are receiving untold amounts of applications. That said, finding ways to perfect your hiring processes now will surely set you on the right footing for employment well into the future.
Reduced costs all around
The challenge of getting the money to launch a startup has previously put many of us off giving this a go. With that in mind, even the above points might not be enough to push you into taking the plunge. But fear not, because reduced costs pretty much all around mean that even this is a promising prospect right now.
For one, the job shortages mentioned mean that it should be easier to attract top talent, even before you’re able to fork out for big bonuses and competitive salaries. Promising equity instead of upfront cash could especially help you to bag the best for less.
But, savings are possible in more than just employment right now. For instance, as all industries struggle, negotiations on things like commercial real estate and even outsourced services become much more likely. This alone can drastically reduce startup costs which, when paired with potential savings where otherwise pricey customer acquisitions are considered, may be the springboard from which your startup can soar in 2021.
A final word
There’s no denying that starting a business during a global crisis can seem daunting. Worse, there’s no such thing as a guarantee where new business is concerned. That said, the figures being released right now certainly point towards increased opportunities for less this coming year. As such, if you have an idea to run with, now may be the time to take on the startup world at last.