There is no question that the COVID-19 outbreak that began in early 2020, and has been with us since, has left people, industries and the economy reeling. The globe has been facing an unprecedented scale of economic uncertainty, and jobs have been cut and career plans have been knocked off course. 

Although it may seem counterintuitive to start a business in an economic downturn, there are a number of reasons that the start of 2021 should be the time you start your own business. For aspiring entrepreneurs, this period offers a unique opportunity to start a thriving business. Here are a few reasons why your entrepreneurial dreams do not need to be put on hold.

Don’t look for your perfect role, create it

With many people recently unemployed or cloaked in the uncertainty of furlough, that is soon coming to an end, job security is scarce. Over the first lockdown, UK payrolls shrank by 649,000 jobs and The Office of National statistics reported weakening employment rates, with zero-hour and part-time workers seeing reductions, from March to May and, as whole, we’ve seen little to no growth since. However, although these statistics sound uninspiring, a rare opportunity to set yourself up in business has been presented.

Employers are reporting record numbers of applicants per role, including people who would normally be considered over-qualified. Instead of trying to find job opportunities with an “I’ll take what I can get” approach, maybe it’s time to maximise your capabilities and invent your own role. By setting up your own business you are able to capitalise on your unique skill set and create a position for yourself that allows you to explore and exploit your experience, network and build on your qualifications. In becoming your own boss, you take back control of your career whilst creating your ideal role in an industry you are passionate about.

At Enterprise Starter, we have various means to assist would-be entrepreneurs in finding and fine tuning their unique goals and passions, creating innovative products and services from their skill sets and experience, as well as providing a solid foundation from which to grow their businesses.

Utilise your new time 

Nothing became more apparent during lockdown than the fact that there are a lot of hours in the day: time normally filled with commuting and travelling, and meeting friends and family seemed to pass with unbelievable slowness. More recently, we have seen a lot of continuation of lockdown sentiment in our new daily schedules (working from home, using online conferencing software to meet people, independent working).

There is more time to dedicate to entrepreneurial endeavours than ever before, due to the changes seen in travel, working and socialising, and the choice is there to use that time wisely (or not). Although it has been an incredibly difficult time for many, the pandemic has given some of us one valuable gift – time. Time away from the constraints of an imposed routine has given people space to come up with ideas, nurture the ideas and create something of value for themselves and others.  Enforced time in isolation can be utilised or wasted; don’t spend your time wishing away the minutes, use your time to create opportunities for yourself instead.

Enterprise Starter is a social enterprise tailored to supporting the development of your ideas and helping you grow your business, with an emphasis on helping you streamline your entrepreneurial processes in order to maximise your potential. We offer a technology diagnostic session where we assess what technology you currently use, and recommend improvements to increase performance. We guide you through the process of setting up new equipment, software and subscriptions, by offering training and coaching to help you get to grips with new tech, software and technical processes.

Less competition

In such turbulent times, with many competitors struggling to restart – and, unfortunately many going out of business – the chance of others in your field starting a business with your niche is, in all likelihood, very low. This period has provided a chance to grow something new, whilst others are slowly restarting their businesses, returning to their old jobs from furlough, or searching for replacements or indeed a job.

Firstly, finding employees, suppliers, developers and any other resources, human or otherwise, will be easier than it has ever been before. Economic downturns provide an excellent talent-scouting opportunity. With many people out of work and looking for new opportunities, talent normally unavailable can be found far more easily and on competitive terms. Many qualified and skilled people are currently looking for work, so there is a prime marketplace of potential co-founders and employees.

Less competition has another advantage – more attention. One of the biggest challenges to start-ups is getting noticed. Normally vibrant markets have become quiet and a number of potential customers and business partners, generally hard to reach in a booming industry, are there, waiting to be part of creating income and prosperity.

A strong brand and marketing strategy is crucial to get your business noticed. Enterprise Starter has a whole team dedicated to branding and marketing, who can help you get your message out effectively to your target customers, giving you an edge over your competitors. A solid strategy also helps you better understand your customers, which is the first step in satisfying their needs. Brand identity is a very important part of a successful business and to get recognition you must have a clear plan of how you will approach this.

Be a pioneer

Many successful businesses began during tough economic crises, as they identified a new gap in the market and rose to fill it. A quick Internet search of businesses started in a recession or challenging economic periods returns a number of familiar household names, including AirBnb, Disney, EA, FedEx and several others.

People starting businesses is exactly what a bleak market desperately needs: entrepreneurially minded start-ups growing into the spaces left by larger businesses or where there is a demand for new (or lost) products and services. A departure from the traditional career model provides the opportunity to fast-track personal and business growth.

Necessity drives innovation: 2020 has seen our society face a number of new problems, and these problems need new solutions. Central to a successful enterprise is finding solutions for customer needs, and in a year that has seen such a radical change in all areas of life (positive and negative) many different needs have been created across every industry. At the heart of business is the goal of addressing a need, and in times like this there is no shortage of needs needing fresh, original solutions.

If successful, the rewards will be greater than ever. A start up built and grown in difficult economic times can only become stronger on the other side of this recession. In our current climate of rising unemployment and declining demand, value created now will only grow as markets begin to recover. Capabilities will be put to the test and skills will be developed in this environment, only helping create a more valuable business overall.

Even in consideration of all these factors, starting a business is never without risk. Regardless of the current state of the economy, there are no guarantees of success at any time when it comes to entrepreneurial endeavours. However, there are things you can do to mitigate the risks that come with starting a business and that is exactly at the core of what we help you do at Enterprise Starter. Our founder offers a free enterprise idea diagnostic to talk through the feasibility of your business idea and give you the best chance of success from the outset. As long as you are aware the promise of success can never be assured, taking considered, calculated risks always provide an opportunity to learn – nothing ventured is nothing gained.