Businesses are coming back to life as the world slowly begins to reopen after COVID-19 shutdowns. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had an extremely negative impact on businesses.
According to a U.S. Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey, 31.4% of small business owners reported that they expect more than six months to pass before their business can return to its normal level of operations.
It may be harder to run a thriving business now and in a post-COVID-19 world. However, there are many opportunities for small business owners who want to adjust their models or switch to an entirely new industry.
According to Haris Bacic, founder of Bacic Media Group, "[COVID-19] has taught us how to prepare for similar events in the future."
To prepare for the post-COVID-19 world and ensure you will be successful even in tumultuous times, here are some thriving businesses you may want to start.
Businesses That Focus On the At-Home Consumer
Everyone stayed at home for months during the pandemic's peak, so it makes sense to start a business that people at home can enjoy. According to Adam Gordon, co-founder of PTO Genius, e-commerce, gaming, fitness, health, home improvement, and pets businesses that are online will resonate with consumers.
Rosemary Roller, a communication specialist for FrontierBundles.com, added that online services like video and audio collaboration services, electronic payment systems, cloud storage, and computing technologies, and streaming video platforms would also do well.
"Netflix and the Sony Playstation are perfect examples of companies that provide a constant stream of home entertainment in a time where many could not leave their homes," Roller says.
Restaurants That Deliver
When states across the U.S. were fully shut down, dining in restaurants was not allowed. If restaurants did not offer delivery or have a solid delivery system in place, they suffered. For example, an Eater.com survey showed that Foursquare visits to casual dining restaurants in Seattle and San Francisco declined 8% to 12% around Feb. 24.
Restaurants that can provide delivery to customers are going to be among the thriving small businesses post-COVID-19. "Restaurants that took advantage or had processes in place to accept delivery orders fared much better throughout this crisis than restaurants that were not prepared to take online or delivery orders," says Bacic.
Now that businesses are required to follow COVID-19 guidelines to protect their workers and customers, they need to hire cleaning and sanitation companies that will help them out. These cleaning services will be thriving businesses in the post-COVID-19 world.
According to Baruch Silvermann, CEO and founder of The Smart Investor, the overheads for a cleaning business are very low—you just need cleaning equipment, supplies, and transportation. "You can start a cleaning business with just one or two workers, targeting smaller businesses in the local area that may not have the ability to employ someone full time to look after these issues," he says.
Retail Stores That Offer Different Shopping Options
Caroline Podgurski, an owner of BirdRock Baby, says she believes that thriving businesses in retail will give customers many shopping options "to meet their overall comfort levels of being around others."
For example, she recommends providing curbside pickup and touchless delivery. At her store, she put together a baby shoe size guide complete with a printable size chart that helps customers find the perfect size for their child, without going to the store.
Arsalan Rathore, owner of KodiVPN, says that the healthcare industry is where you'll find lots of opportunities in the post-COVID-19 environment. Medical consultants, psychiatrists, dentists, and other medical professionals/businesses were busy during the peak of the crisis and will continue to be in the post-COVID-19 world.
Though times are tough now, entrepreneurs are finding ways to recalibrate and guarantee they will run thriving businesses for years to come.
"Some of the most successful businesses have been set up during times of great recession," says Silvermann. "You can use your time to start a business when the risks are relatively low."
As Gordon noted, now it's more important than ever to be optimistic.
"COVID will slow sales pipelines for a lot of businesses so it's important to stay positive, be patient, get creative and constantly think, what is the one thing we can do each day to really move the needle?"