Starting a Business During the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic
Small Businesses Big Picture
Since small businesses make up a large portion of the United State’s economic growth, we know that the government will try to protect them financially as much as possible during difficult times. This can be seen through current SBA loans, business grants for women, and other opportunities available. It’s also a sound strategy to prevent an economic depression.
Being that small businesses are composed of people working together now affected by the consequences of COVID-19, the government has created a stimulus plan. The plan stipulates that “individuals who earn $75,000 in adjusted gross income or less would get direct payments of $1,200 each, with married couples earning up to $150,000 receiving $2,400 — and an additional $500 per each child. The payment would scale down by income, phasing out entirely at $99,000 for singles and $198,000 for couples without children,” according to CNN.com.
This additional surplus of funds in your household can help you decide to take the first step into entrepreneurship. Since becoming a business owner is partly about taking risks and believing in yourself, become your biggest fan and put that spare cash to work for you because it’s now or never — especially if you have some extra time on your hands.
Initial New Business Expenses and How to Utilize Extra Cash
There are some common denominators when it comes to starting a business and the expenses involved; these include varying state fees to file your business with the government, which range from $0-500 depending on your state or the type of business structure you choose. You have a choice in either starting a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or corporation (S-Corp or C-Corp).
If you don’t have a lot of funds, you can start a sole proprietorship, but know that your assets are not protected from the state’s perspective, meaning that in case of a lawsuit your personal funds are equal to those of the business. However, this might be a great starting point to creating your dream business due to its low start-up costs during slow economic times such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Most people choose to start an LLC because it’s a safe, happy medium where your personal funds are considered separate from those of your business. The only caveat is that you'll ideally have to open a business bank account for the state to consider your personal assets and your business funds separate entities.
The state fees for forming an LLC vary depending on the state you start your business (e.g. Michigan LLC $50, Connecticut LLC $120, etc.). You can save money on the business formation process if you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person or you can use an online business formation service like ZenBusiness who will take care of the hard work for as little as $39 (plus state fees) to get you up and running.
What Type of Business Should I Start?
Once you’ve gotten your costs figured out for starting a business, one of the most important questions a budding entrepreneur should ask oneself is, ‘What can I sell?’ This is a great starting point before graduating onto the best business idea for you. If you’re passionate about something, think of ways it can be monetized, especially if it’s something that could be done or sold online. Perhaps consider something that doesn’t exist, but you have a special skill or knowledge for, while still potentially catering to the masses.
Once you have chosen an idea, use our free business name generator to come up with the best name for your online small business. Next (and if it’s in the budget), you may consider creating a website by securing a domain name through our business name generator. This can cost you as little as $4.99 for the domain name and about $200 (around $17/month) more for the website itself with a free 1-month trial.
If you’re selling a physical product don’t forget that you can leverage Amazon through their Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) services. Once you sign up and send your products to their warehouse, they handle the rest for you. This can help you reach and gain more customers. Just make sure you read all their guidelines and follow their instructions.
There are all kinds of essential products people will be happy for you to sell during times of crisis such as toilet paper, canned foods, hand sanitizers, paper towel, face masks, disinfectants, etc. as we’ve come to find out. However, there are other additional business ideas that can stem from the flu pandemic since it could recur in the future as the world’s population increases and new flu strains arise. Some business ideas could include rethinking already existing products or ideas such as:
- Face masks - making them stylish
- Bottled, wash-off disposable gloves formula - innovative formula
- Front porch hand sanitizers (wall units or stands designed for the home)
- Decorative covers for hand sanitizers to match front porch decor
- Disinfecting/sanitation businesses - different from custodial services and hired by all businesses to disinfect companies’ common areas
- Friendship apps (to connect with others for a similar cause while social distancing)
- More game or art apps for entertainment purposes while home alone
- Online mastermind, expert education regarding best practices for virus-free, clean businesses/work environment
- Provide online courses for specific skills
Additional Business Ideas After the Pandemic:
- Home care disinfectant crew for elderly
- Routine care home delivery services for elderly
- Virus prevention and education centers (per CDC guidelines)
- Grocery delivery organizations for elderly and low-income immunocompromised
- Any innovative idea that can help decrease the spread of microorganisms at the airport (e.g. personal or industrial luggage disinfectant products)
- Disposable seat covers for public waiting/common areas)
- Online, group therapy counseling for those who lost family members during COVID-19 or those affected mentally due to the stresses of the pandemic.
If you can help others by starting a business that either helps prevent the spread of viruses or assists in relieving its effects, now is definitely the time for action. Otherwise, any other online business idea or work-from-home endeavor can be a great start.