Q: I’ve been thinking about starting my own
home-based business in the next few months. But with the poor
economy and increasing unemployment, is now a good time to start a
A: I don’t have a crystal ball that will allow me
to predict what will happen with the economy. But the answer to your
questions really depends upon your timing and the type of business
you want to run.
This is obviously not the time to start a high-risk or high overhead
retail business. However, the planning and start-up process – if
done properly – should take you at least a few months (especially if
you are still employed). So you need to project the state of the
economy (and your target market) at least that far into the future,
rather than dwell on what it’s like now. You may not even have a
problem, since things may be on the upswing again by the time you’re
ready to start calling on customers.
Beyond that short time-frame, as with any business start-up, you
must determine whether or not there is – and will continue to be – a
market for your service or product.
There probably will be future recessions down the road, so if you
plan to be in business for the long haul, you should factor market
fluctuations into your business planning.
There are many service businesses that tend to be
recession-resistant and even flourish when the economy is on either
the upswing or downswing. This is when companies often contract work
out rather than hire new employees.
With this in mind, you might consider (based on your skills and
interests, of course) offering business-to-business services like
computer consulting; repair services; resume writing; secretarial
and other office support services; and training, tutoring and
Any business in the health care industry is probably also a good
bet. This includes anything from medical services such as claims
assistance and transcribing to wellness services and products
benefiting the aging baby boomer population.
Anything in the financial services field should thrive right now.
This includes bookkeeping, proposal and grant writing, business
brokering, debt collection, credit counseling and tax preparation.
Home repair and maintenance services tend to sustain themselves
during recessionary times. This includes things like plumbing,
electrical, renovations, house cleaning, landscaping and roof
repair. Some of these things simply need to be done when a problem
arises; others are a result of people’s tendency to stay home and
feather their nests when the world becomes a scary place.
And sadly, security services are also in high demand right now
because of the current environment.