Starting your new – or next – business in the age of COVID-19

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

By Michelle van Schouwen

In November 2019 (seems like 1,000 years ago!) I published a Succeeding in Small Business article about in coming years.

These ideas still hold up, and I invite you to check out that article. But now that we’re living in the age of COVID-19, I’d like to submit some additional considerations. The issues and trends below should at the least be taken under advisement as you start or adapt your business. In some cases, the societal shifts in themselves create new business opportunities.

COVID-19 won’t last forever, but it’s likely to make its mark on the next few years. And it has reintroduced the understanding that a new virus, and not just this one, can shake up our lives and communities in a multitude of ways. So, as an entrepreneur, consider the following:

-Many people are learning to value open-air opportunities, whether for socializing, exercising, shopping, eating and drinking, or learning.

-When we are inside, we want better ventilation, top-notch hygiene and virus-killing systems. Many of us are wary about being packed in shoulder-to-shoulder, and we’re likely to remember our fears for a while to come. (For example, cruise lines and performing arts venues will be struggling with this issue now and going forward.)

-Home is becoming the place where we do almost everything. We’d like it to be comfortable and fun. We might like a break from cooking, cleaning and caring for kids and the elderly. We’re tired of tripping over our furniture and we need some space to play.

-Children whose classroom experiences are in any way disrupted need a range of academic, social and athletic help, and parents are not always equipped to provide it all.

-We’re internalizing the fact that we can meet remotely and conduct all manner of business that way. More of us work at home or in shared workspaces, a trend that started pre-COVID. The office itself has changed, and will likely remain changed. Business travel as well is under review in ways that may last well beyond COVID-19.

-Healthcare systems become overwhelmed when we need them most. We need additional options.

-Especially with COVID-19, our pre-existing health conditions have put us at risk. We want help dealing with our issues. These may include weight management, smoking and substance cessation support, nutritional guidance, and stress mitigation, for starters.

-Unless the U.S. economic system changes a good deal, the rich have a lot to spend, the poor need a great deal… and the divide is growing. Who can you serve?

It’s not easy starting a business in uncertain times. But savvy entrepreneurs recognize the opportunity to create something of value during this era of great change. We know that, in business, little to nothing is EVER certain and that it’s our job to build new companies that provide services and products that resonate now.


Michelle van Schouwen  enjoys an “Act 2” career as principal of Q5 Analytics, providing advocacy and communications for climate change mitigation and adaptation. See Q5  For 32 years, Michelle was president of van Schouwen Associates, LLC, a B2B marketing company. In 2017, van Schouwen Associates was acquired by Six-Point Creative Works, Inc. of Springfield, MA. Michelle is available for speaking engagements on topics including her new work on climate crisis mitigation and Florida coastal water issues. She speaks to business and student groups about marketing launches and entrepreneurship and works with start-ups to support their development.

Leave a Reply

The Self-Employment Survival Guide can help you succeed. Learn all about it here.

Self-Employment Survival Guide book cover