With the COVID-19 virus surging across the United States, a slow rollout of the vaccine, and a tough economy, the 2021 outlook for small businesses looks challenges. Still, small business owners are hopeful, albeit with a healthy dose of caution.
During COVID-19, many events have been canceled, and people cut back on their spending. But Flynn Zaiger, the CEO of Online Optimism, a creative digital marketing agency with offices in New Orleans and Atlanta, believes that there will be a big comeback this year.
"While there's an understandable cause for concern short-term due to COVID-19, the stretch that will be summer to the end of the year, I believe, could be the greatest economic boom of our lifetimes," says Zaiger.
"Most of society will have been cooped up for more than a year. Events, including everything from conferences to weddings, have been postponed or canceled or changed to a virtual event. This is a lot of pent-up energy and excitement that will be released toward the end of this year. With all the potential being built up, it's hard not to feel optimistic about the year as a whole."
A perspective shift
The events of the last year have given people a new perspective, and that's going to continue into 2021 and translate into good business, according to Jake Irving, owner of Willamette Life Insurance, Beaverton, Ore.
"In the year 2020, the pandemic was really hard for many businesses, [but] fortunately for my business, it made people think about what life might look like for their loved ones if they were no longer here," Irving says. "This trend has continued into the New Year and is allowing me to help more families prepare for their financial futures. I am optimistic about this trend that has opened people's eyes to the need for life insurance."
Preparing for the future
Ryan McEniff, owner of private home health care agency Minute Women Home Care, Lexington, Mass., says the experience of managing 2020's challenges will make it easier to function in the future.
"Overcoming this type of extraordinary adversity of a pandemic in the home health care industry was no easy task," says McEniff. "If we were able to get through this year together, traditional years fighting for market share against competition look a lot less intimidating."
A return to normal
Everybody wants things to go back to the way they were before the pandemic. Daniel Carter, founder of Los Angeles-based Zippy Electrics, is confident they will.
"Given the fact that the vaccine is now available, I am looking forward to the possibility of things getting back to normal," he says. "This means better sales and getting back to our normal operations."
Even if "normal" doesn't come right away, McEniff urges his fellow small business owners not to give up.
"If you have been able to squeak by and make it this far, you sure as heck can make it a little further," he encourages. "Keep the faith, be optimistic, and fight like hell to keep your business open."
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