The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on workers, small businesses, and the economy in general. Amid lay-offs and closures and still much uncertainty about the future, you’re probably not thinking, “what a great time to start a business.” However, it actually might be! If you’ve been toying with the idea of business ownership for some time, now could be the optimum moment to finally go for it. As much as the pandemic has brought loss and sorrow, it has also ushered in new beginnings — and this is especially true in the business sector.

Why would this be a good time?

Yes, this has been an era of financial hardship for many. But the economy appears to be finally rebounding. The silver lining for prospective entrepreneurs is that interest rates and property prices are low, as are many purchasing costs due to stocking issues, close-out sales, and closed businesses selling off inventory or equipment. If you’re uneasy about the idea of taking advantage of someone else’s hardship, remember that you are helping other business owners out when you buy what they need to get rid of.

There will probably be a lot of vacancies needing to be filled.

Sadly, many small businesses that are struggling to survive are likely only managing to do so with government aid. When that runs out, many opened businesses today will not be able to keep going for long. Shops, restaurants, and salons may close, but the demand for them will surely return — even if not with quite as much vigor. When this happens, we will need creative business owners to step into these vacated spots — figuratively, yes, but literally, as well, because empty city centers and office buildings will need to be filled.

New demands have been created, and new sectors will probably thrive.

The pandemic has changed us in so many ways, perhaps more than we have yet to realize. This is reflected in every aspect of life, from how we eat and exercise to where we work. A successful business owner will take cognizance of widespread societal alterations and look for areas where new needs and demands have opened. For instance, home service businesses are thriving right now, and will likely continue to do so, now that working remotely is mainstreamed.

How much time should you wait to start?

If you’re convinced that now is a great time to get your business off the ground, make sure you have the capital you need. Careful investing can help you to increase the capital you have, but if you’re uncertain about the market, look for grants that help small businesses get their start. Crowdfunding can be a good way to get a boost, especially if you anticipate that your business will add value to your community or provide a much-needed product. Tempting though it may be to dig into savings or personal funds to finance a business, this is usually a risky choice, so try to leave your private money untouched.

Form your business the right way from the start.

Prospective small business owners should investigate the advantages of becoming a limited liability company (LLC). This can be beneficial even for very small businesses because, with an LLC, you are less liable in the case of lawsuits or accidents. Having an LLC versus a sole proprietorship provides certain tax advantages, and — believe it or not — less paperwork, though regulations for LLCs do differ from one state to the next. When you register your new business, you will need to file a Certificate of Formation verifying that your company is a legal entity. If you’re unsure how to proceed and wary of attorney’s fees, have a formation service help you.

As trying as past months have been, this has also been an era for human resilience and creativity to flourish. Prospective entrepreneurs who are attentive to the changing market and to cultural shifts can take advantage of this time to build a business that will contribute to their community.

Visit People’s Olive Branch for more business-related news and content.