The COVID-19 pandemic created not just a health crisis but also an economic crisis in the United States. Since lockdowns and physical distancing were imposed in March 2020, there have been many business closures and widespread unemployment or drastic cuts in work hours and pay. Brookings reports that 113 consecutive months of growth in jobs up to March 2020 were obliterated by the pandemic. Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) shows that in the second quarter of 2020, the U.S. economy experienced a 9.1 percent decrease in economic output, the most significant quarterly decline on record.
In 2021, the economy has been showing signs of rapid recovery, though. Government financial aid and the rollout of vaccines are major factors. NPR reports that in June 2021, more than 440,000 new businesses were put up. Astonishingly, the number of business startups from March 2020 to June 2021 is at a record high. According to CNN Business and Moody Analytics, as of September 22, the United States economy had reached 91 percent of its level in March 2020.
It is, therefore, a good time for business-minded people to start a business now. It is a fresh start for the economy, and it will be profitable to be among those in the initial waves of startups.
Coworking Spaces Are in Demand
With most employees now working remotely and many companies allowing them to work remotely full-time, investing in a coworking space business franchise is a good idea. Many employees have taken advantage of their remote work arrangement to move to locations far from their offices, either closer to other family members or living in a more affordable area. Those among them who are already fully vaccinated will welcome the idea of having a new workspace after having been cooped up indoors for more than a year and a half. Also, not everyone has a suitable home office. Those who have children or partners who are also working from home will be struggling to focus on work tasks in that environment.
A coworking space can also serve the needs of companies whose employees are working remotely. They will need a conference room from time to time for specific meetings that need to be face-to-face. Also, such physical gatherings among team members serve as team-building experiences to keep morale high and maintain the company culture.
Investing in a franchise is the best way to start this business. Having an established brand will immediately give the business momentum. The mother company will also be able to provide the entire setup ready to go, from technological needs to space design.
Food Is Always a Need
Another perennial winner in small businesses is the food industry. One of the recent trends is setting up a ghost kitchen. This means preparing food for online orders and deliveries only, without on-site dining. It does not have the overhead costs of setting up a physical restaurant and hiring restaurant staff. All costs concentrate on setting up the kitchen, employing kitchen staff, food production, and packaging. Ghost kitchens pair up with ordering and delivery services that get a share of every order. This cost must also be computed into the pricing of food.
Apart from having an a la carte menu, a ghost kitchen can also offer meal subscriptions. A customer can sign up for a month and receive deliveries of set meals for lunch or dinner, or both. This is very convenient for people working from home and juggling work tasks with child care, supervising school-age children doing distance learning, and household tasks. These people will welcome not having to do meal preparation on top of everything.
People who are already working back at the office will also benefit from a lunch delivery subscription. This will spare them from having to bring meals from home or go out to lunch. Also, a ghost kitchen can offer subscriptions that cater to specific diets, such as vegan, vegetarian, heart-healthy, diabetic, keto, and others.
There are still many more small business ideas that can be generated from the current market situation. It is essential to consider changes in the market brought about by the pandemic and likely to stay. New businesses must cater to the new normal in people’s lifestyles and needs and continue to evolve. Companies that cater to other businesses must keep a close watch on their clients’ business pulse. The evolution of the coronavirus and the development of vaccines for new variants will be major determinants of changes to come. With that in mind, any new small business needs to be flexible and agile.