Good Businesses to Start in a Bad Economy

Even during a recession or pandemic, there are good business opportunities. Here are 15 good businesses to start in a bad economy.

15 Businesses to Start During a Recession or Pandemic

Are you considering starting a business? Perhaps you have been laid off, or are fed up with the uncertainty of your position in the corporate world. Despite the acceleration of the vaccine program, the direction of the economy in the United States is by no means clear. 

In its latest economic forecast, Deloitte notes that though unlikely, the vaccine rollout could hit a stumbling block if ‘a new variant requires a reformulated vaccine. Imagine having to restart the global vaccine program from the ground up! That’s extremely unlikely. But even the need for revaccination with a “tweaked” serum could delay the economic recovery.’

What are the good businesses to start in a bad economy?

As the economic cycle works through, one thing is becoming clear. The best businesses and franchises to own right now are those that are impacted less by a poor economy. You see, not all businesses go bad when the economy is bad. Some businesses are thriving because of the pandemic (healthcare and PPE manufacturers, as examples).

For protection against further economic downturns, think about what it is that people need most. Consider how consumers’ spending habits may change with less income, and how differently they may live their lives.

Here are 10 recession-proof business ideas to get you started.

  1. Grocery stores

Everyone must eat. Grocery stores may not be an exciting business, but sales tend to stay reasonably consistent throughout an economic cycle.

  1. Discount stores

As money gets tight, consumers tend to pull in spending. Instead of buying high-end luxury items, they reduce their spending to essentials. As money gets tighter, people are more likely to shop at discount stores, buying in bulk or at lower prices to stretch each dollar.

  1. Waste disposal and utilities

The need for trash disposal, water, and sewerage services does not fall much during a recession. The most resilient of these types of businesses are those that serve private homes rather than business districts.

  1. Auto repair and maintenance

Car manufacturers may report lower sales, but auto repair shops often do well during recessions. People still need to travel, even if only to get their weekly groceries. They need their car, and if it has been damaged or breaks down it must be repaired.

  1. Home improvement

A wide range of businesses come under the umbrella of home improvement. From catering for those who want to undertake their own improvements to providing services that deliver larger remodeling and complex repair projects.

  1. Safety, security, and alarm systems and security services

Crime rates often rise during recessions, and, naturally, people should want to protect their homes, possessions, and themselves better.

Security guard businesses, home security, alarms, and CCTV are all businesses that could perform well during recessions.

  1. Health services

Health comes before wealth. Hospitals and health clinics remain in demand during recessions, though some consumers may delay less essential health treatment (such as making eyeglasses last a few more months).

  1. Childcare and baby products

Again, we’re focusing on necessities. Steer clear of the luxury end of the market, and concentrate on the products that all babies, children, and parents need.

  1. Veterinary services

People love their pets, and, like humans, pets suffer illnesses. People will often spend more on their pets than themselves.

  1. Accounting and tax services

For businesses and individuals, accounting and tax services are indispensable during a recession. Your taxes must be filed, and many accounting firms report increases in business during recessions.

Good businesses to start in a pandemic

Many of the businesses we have outlined above are also good businesses to own during a pandemic. Other businesses could benefit even more because of the nature of the current economy, and the way it is being led by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider these examples:

  1. Commercial cleaning services

Businesses that have remained open have a duty of care to their employees and their customers. Part of their obligations is to provide a safe place in which to be. During a pandemic, the need for cleaning is even higher than before.

People who are furloughed or out of work may be doing their own domestic cleaning, but commercial cleaning services are, um, cleaning up. As more businesses open, the need for cleaning services is likely to increase.

  1. Delivery services

With greater fear of contracting a deadly virus and restrictions on movement, delivery services have thrived during the pandemic. For example, Amazon’s sales have boomed, with sales up 44% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

With people compelled to stay at home because of lockdown rules and fears for their own health, the demand for delivery services has increased tremendously. Now people have become used to the convenience of home delivery, this is a trend that may be sustained post-pandemic, too.

  1. Educational services and products

Can you supply toys, games, or online education to children who must stay at home? It’s a booming market.

  1. Virtual gym and fitness

With gyms and sports facilities closed, there has been an increase in demand for what has become one of the fastest-growing services in the pandemic economy: virtual fitness. Lessons can be delivered as either prerecorded or ‘live’, with the potential to profit from multiple skill sets, including personal training, Zumba, and Yoga.

  1. Fast food

With restaurants, closed or capacity limited people who want a treat resort to fast food as a quick and cheaper alternative. No need to eat in. Drive through and take out.

Are you ready to explore business opportunities during a recession?

We don’t know how long the current recession will last. What we do know is that some businesses do well during a recession. It has also become clear that some businesses have boomed because of the pandemic.

Are you ready to take advantage of starting a recession-proof and pandemic-proof business? Take the aptitude test to find out.

Alternatively, click here to learn more about our Executive Career Change Service.


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