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The Covid-19 pandemic shifted both the world we live in and how we do business. Startups and Main Street USA experienced disruptions, shutdowns, closures, and job losses as the world came screeching to a halt. The social distancing measures that were put into place to save lives, unfortunately, hurt many of Americaâs small businesses.
Fast forward nearly two and a half years later, and the commercial landscape has evolved. While some small businesses thrived during the pandemic, many more struggled and even went under. This leads to a question: which small business industries will be at the top when the coronavirus pandemic is finally over. If youâre wondering what a post-pandemic business climate will look like, stay tuned to find out.
The Pandemicâs Implications on Small Businesses
If someone had told small business owners before Covid-19 that a coronavirus outbreak that began on the other side of the world would threaten their livelihoods, many wouldnât have believed it.
Seemingly overnight, the virus launched its assault in the U.S., with New York City, the home of Wall Street and the center of the business world, seemingly the hardest hit.
But small businesses across the U.S., the American economyâs lifeblood, were hard hit as well, with many business owners struggling to survive as they had to shutter their doors amid shutdowns, restrictions, and mandates.
Per the U.S. Census Bureauâs Small Business Pulse Survey, just over half of the respondents in May 2020 said the pandemic had a large negative effect on their business, while almost 90% said the pandemic had at least moderately impacted their business.
Among the hardest-hit industries early in the pandemic were educational services, accommodations and food services, arts, entertainment and recreation, and healthcare and social assistance. Of those, educational services, accommodations, and food services are expected to take the longest to recover as the pandemic enters its next phase.
Over the past couple of years, many federal interventions helped to keep the economy afloat until the worst of the pandemic passed.
Federal government policymakers and the Small Business Administration thankfully came through for many small business owners via the Paycheck Protection Program, giving many businesses the life support they needed to survive in the short term.
But the real test of survivability isnât whether a business stays open through a crisis, itâs whether it can survive over the long haul in an economy that has been reshaped.
Factors to Consider in a Post-Pandemic World
Itâs strange to think that just over two years ago, we lived in a different world. But the fact is, even though in many ways the economy is reopening and life has returned to normal for most Americans, Covid dramatically transformed everything from the way to shop, to how we work, to how we socialize, and everything in between. So the question is, which industries will see the most demand as the pandemic becomes endemic?
One clue lies in the digital adoption of emerging technologies. Before the pandemic, we were slowly adapting to a digital world. Itâs clear that Covid and lockdowns accelerated the trend. Now almost everyone has employees doing remote work and is taking advantage of technologies like Zoom, Teams, and Slack.
So what are the top industries that will thrive after the pandemic? Letâs find out!
The 5 Top Small Business Industries After the Pandemic is Over
1. Health Care
Itâs an understatement to say that the Covid-19 crisis changed the healthcare landscape. As health services became more important than ever, the crisis triggered shortages across the healthcare sector, creating a sudden and urgent need for new healthcare solutions to fill the void.
At the same time, people have become more concerned about monitoring and improving their health.
Before the pandemic, many health care providers resisted the idea of telemedicine. But as health consumers faced increased risks of infection, strained healthcare staffing, and reduced hospital capacity, the adoption of telehealth services increased exponentially.
The entire healthcare sector, including telehealth (remote medical and mental health services), home health care, medical diagnostics, staffing solutions, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing of medical equipment, and sales, remained in high demand throughout the pandemic and is poised to continue to experience tremendous growth after the pandemic is over.
2. Personal Fitness
Personal fitness has become an increasingly trending industry since its popularity first began around four decades ago.
As the coronavirus pandemic persisted, many Americans sought ways of improving their health and resilience in the event of getting sick.
Innovation is key in the personal fitness sector, and as emerging trends take shape, businesses in the fitness industry need to keep up to stay relevant. Virtual trainers, home fitness equipment, fitness apps, and one-on-one fitness training have become increasingly popular as the world transitions to living with the threat of Covid.
Brick and mortar fitness centers and gyms are still popular, but itâs important to remain vigilant and conscious and stay ahead of the game by adapting to health mandates and improving safety levels for consumers.
Personal fitness providers, hybrid gyms and studios, and fitness equipment manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are all set to profit in a post-pandemic economy. You may need to become inventive and creative to meet consumers where they are, but if you pay attention and adapt to consumer behaviors and preferences, youâll be set for success.
3. Logistics and Supply Chain
As vulnerabilities in our supply chain and logistics problems are exposed, it has become clear that solutions are urgently needed in these areas.
Online sales surged during the pandemic as consumer behavior shifted, but it also cast a light on the weakness of the logistics industry. Because so much of the industry is global rather than regional, delays, backups, and increased prices have become the norm. Businesses that can provide supply chain and logistics solutions are likely to achieve success.
Local, sustainable farming solutions, regional suppliers and logistics hubs, local delivery systems, transportation companies, courier services, and automation (drone deliveries) and innovation within local communities can strengthen and improve our supply chain and foster success within the logistics industry while building upon the vital infrastructure that is needed.
The e-commerce industry was booming before the pandemic, but the COVID-19 crisis significantly accelerated the growth.
According to the U.S. Census Bureauâs 2020 Annual Retail Trade Survey, e-commerce sales grew by $244.2 billion during the first year of the pandemic, marking a 43% increase in online shopping.
Forbes reported that in 2021, e-commerce sales grew another 14.2% year-over-year and totaled $870 billion.
Between 2020 and 2022, building materials, furniture, and electronics saw the fastest growth in e-commerce sales, collectively increasing by 200%. Meanwhile, according to eMarketer, online food and beverage sales represented 9.6% of 2021âs grocery sales, growing by 170%. By 2023, online sales are expected to make up 22% of all retail sales. And some experts say the figure is underestimated!
Thereâs no doubt that the pandemic modified consumer behaviors in a big way. People have now grown accustomed to the convenience of online shopping, home deliveries, and easy returns. This creates a huge opportunity for savvy business owners and people interested in entrepreneurship, where success will be defined by meeting people where they are at.
Of course, third-party vendors like Amazon and Shopify stores will continue to see unprecedented demand, but e-commerce enterprises specializing in online groceries and food deliveries are also growing in popularity. By 2025, food deliveries are expected to account for nearly one-quarter of restaurant revenues.
Digital payment providers and services and contactless payment solutions are also on the rise as e-commerce becomes more prevalent.
Itâs also expected that the post-pandemic era will usher in new e-commerce products and services. Maybe youâll become one of the great e-commerce innovators in the post-pandemic world?
Cybersecurity was already on the radar of many small businesses before the pandemic. But, according to BusinessWire, cyber threats became increasingly more common during the pandemic, increasing in frequency by 81%. Whatâs worse, 79% of those impacted by a cyber incident experienced downtime during their peak season.
In a virtual world, every industry, every business, and every individual is potentially going to be a victim of cybercrime at some point.
As more small business owners embrace technology and alter their business models to take advantage of digitalization, cloud computing, and online opportunities, network security becomes more important than ever.
More people are working remotely, consumers are shopping online, and telehealth and other healthcare services are virtual. Within each of these examples, thereâs an increased concern about the exposure of sensitive data as vast amounts of private information are collected and stored in online networks.
Cybersecurity firms are quickly becoming indispensable in the evolving business landscape as more entrepreneurs recognize the value of security and privacy within their systems to prevent fraudulent activities and mitigate risks to their own organizations and customers.
The Covid-19 pandemic threatened public health and had a profound economic impact on small firms and self-employed business owners. Entrepreneurs faced more challenges over the past two years than at any other time in our lifetime.
But the U.S. economy is resilient and the human spirit is strong. Economists are hopeful that the U.S. economy will rebound and return to its pre-pandemic baseline. With any luck, maybe it will even surpass the most optimistic expectations.
If you are considering opening a new business as the pandemic ends, some industries are clearly more poised for success.
While startups in healthcare, e-commerce, cybersecurity, and logistics and supply chain will likely have advantages over other industries, commercial enterprises across the board are vital in having a full-scale, thriving economy.
What is key, no matter what industry youâre in, is staying on top of evolving consumer preferences and behaviors and adapting your business model whenever possible to maximize your businessâs cash flow and success.
Itâs also important to have a supportive loan provider if you decide itâs time for your business to expand rapidly, or if you need extra cash in an emergency.
Biz2Credit client Ajay Kumar learned just how vital it was when his CPA practice came to a grinding halt early in the pandemic. Tax preparation services hit an all-time low and Ajay had to do some quick thinking to turn his business around.
He came up with the idea to offer loan advisory and assistance services to expand his suite of services. With Biz2Creditâs CPA Business Funding Portal, he was able to transform his idea into a reality and help his clients get streamlined access to small business loans.
With a wide range of funding options, including term loans, real estate loans, and business lines of credit, Biz2Credit has something for every small business owner.