With the spread of COVID-19, the forced closures of economies around the world and record unemployment claims, people are worried about how they will survive—both now and in an impending recession or depression.
In the United States alone, 7.5 million businesses are at risk of shuttering due to the coronavirus pandemic, and 3.5 million businesses might only have two months left until they are forced to close. For hopeful entrepreneurs, it might seem like a bad time to start a business. However, you can find a silver lining in this situation.
If you're an entrepreneur trying to start a business, here are five reasons why right now is the perfect time to pursue your dreams.
1. Less competition
Many business owners are afraid of expanding or launching right now because the future is uncertain. However, this could be good news for you: It could be the right time to pursue your passion since you will face less competition.
“Since everyone is struggling to survive with their businesses during this kind of financial crisis, yours will be able to leverage the same position as them," says Scot J. Chrisman, founder and CEO of The Media House. “You will be able to focus on establishing your own business to be worthy of the competition once the economy improves."
2. Unique opportunities
One of the reasons to start a business at this time is because customers need help dealing with the new normal. According to Debi Kleiman, executive director at the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College, businesses that will thrive include those that provide digital entertainment and communications as well as remote working, healthcare, fitness, stress-reduction, home-cooking, and retail solutions.
“Think about what our world will be like one or two years from now, understanding that COVID won't go away and we'll learn to live with it," she says. “It doesn't have to be a big idea to start. You're not going to solve a massive problem at first. What happens usually is that you find a novel solution to a small but seriously annoying problem for a target market and then that solution expands as well as the customers you can effectively serve to something even bigger."
3. Assistance available
The government doesn't want the economy to sink or another recession or depression to emerge. Among the reasons to start a business right now is the fact that you can receive assistance.
“With governments and banks offering hugely reduced interest rates, massive bailouts, [and] supporting hands everywhere you turn, what better time to take advantage?" says Andrew Taylor, director of Net Lawman.
4. You have the time
With people staying at home and businesses closed, the world is moving at a slower pace. This means you can put your efforts into starting a business.
“If you have an idea that you have been waiting to develop, with time now on your side and the slowdown of the economy and a lot of efforts by governments and banks to boost it, you also can catch the train now, rather than having it always speed past as it has before," Taylor says. "This slowdown gives people that critical opportunity they have been waiting for to get on board and establish their ideas."
5. All you need is a good idea and an internet connection
In the past, if you wanted to start a business, you'd need massive capital to rent a storefront, buy equipment and furniture, get insurance, hire employees, and pay for other startup expenses. Now, since so many businesses are going online—and you most likely have a wifi connection already—you can quickly get moving on your idea.
One person who did that successfully is Elena Favaro Viana, who was laid off from her job in March when COVID-19 shutdowns began. She quickly pivoted and started an online coaching business and virtual law firm.
“In less than one month, I made about 80% of my 2019 annual income," she says. “Starting an online business now is the best time. It is clear that, after COVID, and when the world goes back to normal, having an online portion of any business is critical to its success."
Getting your business up and running
“Pandemic or not, keep in mind that risks are always roaming around businesses," Chrisman says. “Be agile and keep up with the trends. Study your industry and make your brand be distinguished among your competitors. Most of all, love and enjoy what you are doing."
Trying to start a business is always a scary endeavor. While it may seem riskier than ever, those who are brave enough to pursue their passion will thrive in this new reality.