It’s no secret that 2020 put our preconceptions about what makes a successful small business model on tumble-dry. Pandemic restrictions, and the societal changes that accompany them, have redrawn the way we think about commerce, forcing many companies to retrench and reimagine the way they reach their customers.
Even with the changing landscape, the US Commerce Department showed nearly a 43 percent jump in new business applications in January. Which new small businesses are fueling the growth? It turns out that small businesses in several sectors are actually seeing some serious growth opportunities in the pandemic economy. Let’s look at a few examples based on new business applications submitted over the past year:
e-Commerce. While giants like Amazon strengthened their positions in the e-commerce industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunities remain for smaller businesses to jump on the e-commerce bandwagon. With many brick-and-mortar retailers suffering losses or closures over the past year, e-commerce is only strengthening, as more consumers shift to online shopping and home delivery for their market goods. Also, the startup costs for launching an online small business have dropped “by three orders of magnitude.”
Smaller storage, shipping, and logistics companies have been able to capitalize on the shift to home delivery, supporting and connecting some of the larger businesses with consumers. These days, it’s getting harder to find small businesses that do not yet have an e-commerce component—whether for customer sales or team member onboarding.
Virtual Health & Fitness. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way many of us think about our physical health. Working out in a crowded gym isn’t the low-risk activity it once was, so people are searching for new ways to stay fit while maintaining social distancing. Virtual solutions include home fitness equipment and online aerobics, as well as spin or yoga classes and personal training via Zoom.
Even with the changing landscape, the US Commerce Department showed nearly a 43 percent jump in new business applications in January.
Consultancies. Consultancies offer a great opportunity for skilled workers to share their expertise without a lot of financial overhead. Whether you’re a tax accountant, digital media manager, or security specialist, businesses are in need of your services. As a consultant, you can work remotely and meet with clients via Skype or Zoom, offering in-demand services without in-person contact.
Software Development. From accounting and logistics to training and security, businesses are always looking to maintain the most advanced software available. Developers continue to answer the call with waves of new offerings. And like consultancies, there’s no brick-and-mortar office of high overhead to maintain.
Cybersecurity. As more workers perform their jobs remotely, cybersecurity has become a very real concern for small businesses. Workers operating remotely open themselves (and your company) to a range of potential security risks.
- Lost or stolen hardware can cause intellectual property to fall into the wrong hands.
- Use of public Wifi without a virtual private network (VPN) can leave information and communications vulnerable to interception by third parties.
- Insufficiently robust passwords can let unwanted outsiders compromise your network.
- Insufficient cloud storage capacity can make rebooting after a breach harder.
With all these (and other) risks, it’s easy to see why cyber insurance and cybersecurity consultancies are predicted to increase during the coming year. Cybersecurity consultants are also advantageous because they carry little overhead, and work onsite only as needed.
Elder Care Services. As our population ages, elder care services are in increasing demand. And with COVID-19 placing an increased disease risk on nursing home residents, many seniors are searching for alternatives to nursing home care. Non-medical home health aides have become a reliable source of help and companionship for thousands of seniors across the nation. Home aides can visit with clients as often as needed (usually once or twice weekly) and can assist with basic home tasks like shopping, preparing meals, attending medical appointments, performing medication checks, and light housekeeping. Non-medical home health companies are seen to be poised for further growth in 2021.
Telehealth/Telemedicine Services. Telemedicine offers patients the opportunity to be evaluated and receive prescriptions using virtual appointments. This gives patients the convenience of meeting with a health professional without travel or increased risk for COVID exposure. Telemedicine also helps patients handle minor problems without the time or expense of a doctor visit. Combined with home medication delivery, telehealth has allowed thousands of individuals to remain at home while receiving the care they need. Telehealth startup businesses have raised over $2.6B since June 2020.
Whatever business you’re in, agility and flexibility are going to play important roles in its success. Visit us again for tips on how to grow your small business.