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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Thanks to widescale vaccinations, the global pandemic might soon be winding down. Small businesses are already preparing to go back to their “normal” pre-pandemic operations.
However, what if you have been sitting on your hands throughout the pandemic and have decided that you want to launch a business now?
Indeed, this might be one of the best times to start a business. Restrictions are being lifted, companies are deciding what adjustments to their operations need to be made, and consumers are re-discovering the world again.
As such, a good question to ask might very well be: what businesses make the most sense to start right now? Which has the most potential?
Related: How to Become a Successful Entrepreneur During the Pandemic
Before we get to the answers, I’d like to first provide some context and explanation as to how I came up with this shortlist.
First, I’ve been helping small businesses for close to two decades in a range of industries—restaurants, daycare, HVAC, gyms, nail salons, the list goes on—both before the pandemic and afterward.
I have been able to spot trends before the media reported them. I have heard directly from entrepreneurs on the challenges facing their livelihood, whether they need to raise capital, pivot, or perhaps even shut down altogether.
Without further ado, here are the best five businesses that I think make the most sense to launch right now.
Commercial and residential cleaning
While cleaning businesses are nothing new—with the barrier to entry traditionally staying low—post-pandemic cleaning businesses can offer additional services, gleaned from the year of (mostly) staying indoors.
The service could be for either commercial or residential, and the service can match the guidelines set forth by the CDC or other public health organizations.
This can be especially helpful for commercial tenants or property owners looking for a solution to deep clean their spaces and ready them for the arrival of employees and customers.
While not all commercial spaces will return to their previous capacities, offering a solution that conforms to health industry standards that can get offices and workspaces up and running faster and more reliably can set you apart.
Distance learning or tutoring service
Schools and universities have been offering hybrid learning experiences for some time. However, with the return to increased in-person interactions, school districts and higher education institutions will need services that help students, instructors, and administrators make sense of the new world of learning.
While some entrepreneurs might think that only large, well-known software companies are already working in this space and that there’s no room for local entrepreneurs, consider launching a virtual tutoring service, in which you work closely with the district on their curriculum and either you or the tutors you hire supplement the regular instruction and serve as virtual tutors, meeting with students via a video conferencing platform.
If you’re the contrarian type, launch an in-person tutoring service: meet with students one-on-one or in groups in a rented space, following all health and safety guidelines of course. For families concerned about widespread infection, agreeing to meet their children in a much smaller group setting might be exactly the right fit they’re looking for.
Niche e-commerce and purchasing manager
Online shopping certainly became a requirement under the pandemic. While the “Amazon economy” was well underway for several years, the arrival of the coronavirus accelerated the adoption of e-commerce not only for consumers but also for businesses that had long resisted it.
You wouldn’t want to compete with Amazon, but find a niche product and start a business that centers on goods that are not readily available through traditional e-commerce platforms.
Go hyperlocal: work with local business owners to discover these “missing” goods and add value between the supplier and local businesses.
Hyperlocal delivery services
I’ve written previously that truckers are the unsung heroes of the pandemic. While not every trucking sector has come out on top during the pandemic, there will be a continuing need for logistics companies in certain sectors.
As with the previous category, again, go hyperlocal. Do some research to uncover a local industry whose needs have changed and that is not being served well by local trucking companies.
The goal of course is to be more efficient and cheaper than other mainstream services. By working with only a certain area, you can understand the cost of doing business there as well as learn about your clients and their buying habits to better inform your business.
Much of the basic healthcare industry vanished under Covid-19, as individuals canceled regular check-ups or were unable to receive medical care due to a drastic reduction in service or availability. Many medical practices failed altogether, leaving patients with fewer choices.
However, as the economy returns to normal, there will be a surge in the need for companies supporting the delivery of healthcare services. While telemedicine will no doubt continue to strengthen, find a way to bridge the gap between online and offline.
Also, as with my previous advice, go hyperlocal and determine what services are not being offered adequately. For one, a medical courier service might be a perfect fit, transporting medical items like lab specimens and equipment to hospitals and clinics in your area.
Home healthcare is another option, and the more specialized you can get, and the more qualified your caregivers are, the more in demand your services will be.
Related: 6 Steps to Starting a Business Successfully During the Worst of Times
The best businesses to start address a market need not currently served by existing players, whether offline or online. Do your homework to uncover missing gaps and exploit that niche.
When creating your business plan, it’s also a good idea to consider your funding options, as well as expected cash flows and expenses.
Related: 10 Post-Pandemic Opportunities to Grow Your Business in 2021